Department of Ecology Releases Pollution Study for Tributaries to Totten and Eld Inlets

GNA members at our Annual Meeting on March 8, 2006 viewed a presentation by representatives of the Washington State Department of Ecology. The presentation was of a report on water temperatures and the levels of fecal coliform bacteria in four tributaries to Totten Inlet (Pierre, Burns, Kennedy, and Schneider creeks), and two tributaries to Eld Inlet (McLane and Perry creeks).

The report presented was a “TMDL” or “Total Maximum Daily Load” study. GNA members were told that TMDL is a calculation of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a water body can tolerate and still be considered healthy.

One of the immediate results of high levels of fecal coliform bacteria is the potential to pollute shellfish beds.

The report makes a particular point of identifying the source of fecal coliform bacteria for these area streams: livestock, failing private septic systems and pet waste. The primary solutions to address the problem of this kind of pollution is directly within the control of homeowners in our area.

There are two documents of particular interest regarding this issue, on the Department of Ecology web site. The first is this document, which is a Quality Assurance Project Plan published in May 2004. The second is this document, presented to the GNA in March, which is the Water Quality Improvement Report. This second document would be of particular interest to homeowners living within the watersheds of the creeks within this study area.

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