Newport Public Works Director Tim Gross says everything was going really well at Nye Beach until it recently all went sideways. Gross and his work crews worked hard to track down and fix leaky sewer pipes so they would not contribute to the storm drain system. And for many months, water samples taken at the Nye Beach outfall, right on the beach at the edge of the turn-around, were really clean – registering a ZERO reading for months on end.
Mission accomplished?? Not quite, apparently. Gross says “something happened.” Bacterial readings have shot up. He said they recently got a 750 bacterial reading which is way above the maximum health level of 150 and well above when they have to put warning signs on the beach for people, and especially their kids, to stay out of the outfall water as it runs down toward the surf.
Gross said for such a dramatic spike in bacteria levels it has to be somebody moving in to a long-vacant dwelling whose sewer is tied right into the storm drains. He said he doubts it’s a case of the occasional vacation R/V driver dumping family waste into a storm drain. Gross said there would be a spike – but then it would be over. But recent levels have been high and stayed high. So he says they’re going to relaunch water sampling in various directions to track down which dwelling is causing the problem.
In the meantime, Gross said his department will set up warning signs for everyone to stay out of the little creek that flows from the turn-around wall all the way to the surf. He said they were just out there looking to put the sign back up but the sign assembly was gone. Somebody must’ve taken it as a souvenir. So they’re making another one.
But in the meantime, it’s probably smart to keep yourself, your kids and your dogs out of that little creek that runs from the wall to the surf. Bacteria levels in it have been very high.