Puget Sound shellfish areas reopen as progress is made to reduce pollution

Thursday, October 15, 2015

From the Washington State Department of Health

More than 1,000 acres of shellfish harvesting areas in Washington have reopened due to improved water quality from efforts to find and fix sources of pollution, modifications in wastewater treatment and collection systems, and continued inspections of private septic systems.

"Adding acres where shellfish can be safely harvested shows that our pollution-reduction efforts are working," said Maryanne Guichard, assistant secretary for the Division of Environmental Public Health. "This progress wouldn’t be possible without our local, state, and tribal partners, along with the communities in shellfish growing areas, who deserve all the credit for finding and correcting pollution problems."

Some of the recent successes include Ketron Island in Pierce County and Poverty Bay in King County. However, the most notable upgrade is the opening of more than 700 acres of shellfish harvest area in Clallam County’s Dungeness Bay. Government and tribal partners have been working with community members and property owners to find and fix pollution sources for more than a decade.

While this progress is encouraging, recent tests show that water quality has worsened in small parts of some growing areas in Mason and Pierce counties. In addition, about 500 acres of Portage Bay in Whatcom County was downgraded earlier this year due to poor water quality. Tests show the area is being impacted by polluted runoff from the Nooksack River.


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