Public Works

Clean Water Program and Information

The Clean Water Program: History

In 1994, as a result of bacterial pollution, the Washington State Health Department closed parts of Samish Bay to recreational and commercial shellfish harvesting. The Bay was so polluted that shellfish harvested from this area were poisonous to people. To remedy this, the county was required to come up with a program that would reduce contamination. In 1995, the Clean Water (Shellfish Protection) District (CWD) was formed. The CWD helped clean up failing sewage systems in Edison and Blanchard which were contributing to the Bay's pollution.

Curing Faulty Septic Systems
By 1998, there seemed to be an adequate amount of septic cleanup in Blanchard and Edison to reopen parts of Samish Bay to shellfish harvesting. For the next few years, the CWD took a back seat waiting to fix the next big event that occurred with little funding to fuel its survival.

Skagit County's Water Monitoring Efforts
From 1999-2005, Skagit County monitored water quality through the Baseline and Samish Bay Watershed Quality Monitoring Projects. This monitoring revealed continuing fecal coliform pollution in the Samish Basin and elsewhere in the County. Fecal coliform bacteria indicate the probable presence of organisms which can cause diseases such as typhoid fever, viral and bacterial gastroenteritis, and hepatitis A. Many watercourses also failed to meet state standards for other parameters such as dissolved oxygen and temperature.

Enter Skagit County's Clean Water Program
In 2005, as a part of the CWD, Skagit County created the Clean Water Program (CWP). Its goal: to address and deal with non-point pollution and enhance Skagit County's water quality with special attention paid to reducing fecal coliform pollution, educating the public, controlling storm water pollution, and developing a water monitoring plan.

Current Program Information