The Kenai River is again under a recreational beach advisory issued by the Department of Environmental Conservation after elevated levels of enterococci and fecal coliform bacteria were found in the area.

The DEC made the announcement in a press release Friday. The department also issued and subsequently lifted a similar advisory last month.

Water samples were taken from five locations along the river on July 2:

•     North Kenai Beach 

•     South Kenai Beach 

•     Kenai River Gull Rookery 1 (60.53660N, 151.25400W) 

•     Kenai River Gull Rookery 2 (60.55180N, 15124400W) 

•     Warren Ames Bridge

Samples from the South Kenai Beach exceeded the water quality criteria for enterococci bacteria. The DEC included the rest of the locations in the advisory in order to protect all beachgoers.

Fecal coliform bacteria were above state limits at North Kenai Beach, South Kenai Beach and Gull Rookery 1 and 2.

Based on genetic testing, the DEC says the source of this bacteria is likely gulls. 

People are urged to avoid swimming in the contaminated water and wash off thoroughly after contacting it. Also, any fish caught in the river should be washed thoroughly and cooked to a minimum temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

The advisory will continue through July. After July 31, it will be lifted when two consecutive weekly samples show safe levels of bacteria.

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