Water quality tests conducted on local beaches

SEATTLE -- A summer-long program to make sure your local beach is safe for swimming kicked off this week.

Water samples taken from beaches like the one at Golden Gardens Park will be tested to make sure people who play in the water will be safe and not get sick from bacteria.

If unsafe bacteria levels are found it could result in a public advisory or a total closure.

"We test for bacteria that could be potentially harmful to the public,”  said Christopher Clinton, Acting Coordinator of the Beach Environment Assessment Communication and Health program.  “If we get high results then we let the public know through social media and also signage at the beach."

Beaches around Puget Sound and on the Washington coast will be tested weekly.

They're starting this week so the beaches will be ready for Memorial Day weekend.

Experts say last year was good for King County.

Only two beaches found to have high bacteria counts.

The federally-funded program is coordinated by the Washington Departments of Ecology and Public Health, with help from local non-profit organizations, volunteers and local Indian tribes.