Public Works

Clean Water Program and Information

clean water
The Clean Samish Initiative is a coalition of federal, state, and county governments, Indian tribes, Non-Governmental Organizations, shellfish growers, and private citizens dedicated to reducing fecal coliform pollution in the Samish Bay Watershed. Our team works to find and fix sources of pollution in the watershed, with a special emphasis on linking landowners with resources to help them reduce the risk of pollution from their property.
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Clean Samish Initiative Partners

What are Fecal Coliform Bacteria and Why Should I Care?

Skagit County focuses on fecal coliform bacteria as the primary indicator of surface water quality. Fecal coliform bacteria are found in the intestinal tract of warm-blooded animals. The presence of fecal coliform in creeks indicates potential pathogens (disease causing agents) in the water. People can be exposed to these pathogens through direct water contact such as swimming, wading, or eating shellfish from waters with high bacteria levels.

What are the Sources of Fecal Coliform Bacteria in Skagit County?

The key potential sources of bacteria that have been identified in Skagit County are:

What are the Solutions to Fecal Coliform Pollution?

  • Identifying Potential Pollution Sources. Some of the ways we identify sources are water quality monitoring, windshield surveys and site visits, septic system inspections and dye tests, and last but not least Crush the sewage-sniffing dog. (Link each way to page related except windshield survey and site visit)
  • Mud and Manure Management make a huge difference not only in fecal runoff but in the health of your pastures and animals. Financial and technical resources are available through the Skagit Conservation District  ( the Natural Resource Stewardship Program(link to NRSP page) to help design a farm management plan, manure exchange programs, confinement areas and fencing.
  • Regular Septic System Inspections help to prevent system failure. When septic systems fail, they can discharge human sewage into the Samish watershed. You may be eligible for a $100 rebate on your septic inspection and/or riser lid installation. To see if you are eligible click here!
  • Scoop the Poop! Always scoop, bag, and trash any pet waste. Rainwater from storms washes bacteria into nearby ditches and streams. Germs and disease can survive up to a full year in poop!

Bigfoot is elusive, just like some sources of water pollution.
But just because it’s not in plain sight, doesn’t mean it’s not there. Clean water is important to each of us, throughout the county, in every stream, river, watershed and bay. We all make an impact; let’s make it a positive one. Remember even the smallest of steps can make a big difference. How BIG is YOUR foot print?

Bigfoot is crazy about the Poo Toss game! He does his part to pick up the poo, do YOU?






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Join our Clean Water email list to receive news, updates and information regarding Skagit County Clean Water programs.

Contact Skagit County Surface Water:
(360) 416-1400

Rick Haley,
Water Quality Analyst:

Karen DuBose,
PIC Coordinator:

Clean Water Facebook Page
Did you know Skagit County Clean Water has a Facebook page? Follow us to watch our progress and receive updates about water quality news and events!