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Island County says swimming in Freeland poses a health risk

Island County Health Officer Dr. Roger Case has issued a swimming advisory for Freeland County Park, and is warning that people who swim in the water at the south end of Holmes Harbor will face an increased risk of illness.

Case issued the warning late Thursday.

Yellow swimming advisory signs have been posted, and the public is being warned to avoid swimming, wading or playing in the water where water could get swallowed or get into a person's mouth, nose or eyes.

The risk is greatest for young children, the elderly, or anyone with a compromised immune system, according to the county.

The swimming advisory will remain in effect until water quality improves.

The park has long been closed to recreational shellfish harvesting due to pollution.

The county formed the South Holmes Harbor Shellfish Protection District in March 2007 after persistently elevated fecal coliform contamination levels were detected in drainage discharges and the waters of the southern end of Holmes Harbor.

Swimming was also banned at the time, but the prohibition was lifted in fall 2008.

The new advisory includes all beaches south of a line extending from the eastern terminus of Ships Haven Drive east to the western terminus of Twin Oak Lane.

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