PUBLIC LANDS -- This is bad news for the beginning of the college party season on the Snake River:
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers temporarily closed the Illia Dunes beach and adjacent shallow waters today after routine water testing there showed elevated levels of fecal bacteria.
The area is a well know party spot for Washington State University students.
Additional water samples will be taken Monday to be tested again for fecal coliforms that pose a potential hazard to human health. The beach will remain closed until tests show that fecal bacteria levels do not exceed state and federal levels considered safe for people.
Boating and fishing continues to be allowed in nearby areas. Fish caught in waters near the swim beach should be thoroughly cleaned and fully cooked before eating.
Warning signs have been posted at the Illia Dunes.
Contact: Corps' Lower Granite Natural Resources Management Office in Clarkston, Wash., (509) 751-0240.