Most lakes and beaches in Whatcom County are usually safe to swim and recreate in, but when there are toxins, pollution, or other health issues in the water we post signs to let you know.
Lakes in Whatcom County are generally healthy to play or swim in. We do not regularly monitor freshwater lakes, but we do respond to questions or concerns by collecting and testing water samples. If we discover a health risk, we post signs at public access points. To report a concern with a lake or beach, fill out the online form, email us, or call 360-778-6000.
Freshwater lakes may have issues with "Swimmer’s Itch" or toxic algae blooms. Animals may poop on the shore or in areas where water runs into the lake. Water contaminated by poop may have bacteria, parasites, or viruses that could make you sick.
We work with the Washington State Beach program to monitor popular saltwater beaches in Whatcom County from Memorial Day to Labor Day each year. Some ocean beaches can become contaminated with bacteria that can make you sick. When bacteria levels are too high, we post signs at beaches to warn about the health risks of swimming.
We currently monitor four high-use, high-risk marine beaches:
Find current health-related closures of saltwater swimming beaches anywhere in Washington State.
Beaches in Whatcom County are often used for recreational shellfish harvest. We work with the Washington State Department of Health to monitor for toxins that are often present in shellfish. When toxin levels are too high, we close the beach to shellfish harvesting and post signs to let you know. Closure signs can be damaged or stolen, so you should always check beach status before collecting shellfish.