Skagit County, Washington

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September 2, 2016

Dramatic water quality improvements recorded at Bay View State Park

The water at Bay View State Park is clean – thanks in part to local volunteers, local residents and the collaborative efforts of the Skagit County Clean Water program.

A recent report from the state Department of Ecology highlighted the dramatic improvements in water quality. In 2015, high bacterial counts in the water forced the closure Bay View State Park to swimming six different times for a total of 35 days during the summer. This year, the park closed only once – at the very end of May 2016 – for five days.

“This incredible turnaround in water quality is directly tied to our septic inspection program and partnership with local homeowners,” said Public Works Director Dan Berentson. “In the past year, we worked with landowners near the beach to inspect and repair four failing septic systems. That might seem like a small number, but it’s clearly made a difference in the water at our local parks.”

Thanks to local outreach by the county’s Clean Water program about the importance of septic system maintenance, 92 percent of all systems in the Bay View area are current on inspections. Inspections also uncovered seven system failures, of which four have been completely corrected and the remaining three are in process of being repaired.

Volunteers from the Coastal Volunteer Partnership have performed all the water sampling and analysis at Bay View State Park for the past several years, in partnership with the Washington Department of Health. The CVP alerted the county’s Clean Water program about the rise in bacteria, and confirmed with the most recent samples the effectiveness of the county’s septic outreach work.

Find more information about septic inspections and maintenance, including grant funding to cover low-income residents, online at www.skagitcounty.net/septic. For questions or more details, please contact Karen DuBose at kdubose@co.skagit.wa.us  or 360-416-1460.