Thursday, June 17, 2010

Leaking Septic Systems Implicated in Bellingham, WA

The Northwest Straits Chapter's BWTF tests between 5-8 sites throughout the year. During the summer of 2009, they discovered a spike in fecal coliforms in a water sample collected from Larrabee State Park (pictured above & below). The chapter alerted the local authorities to the suspected pollution. The Washington State Department of Ecology’s BEACH Program and Whatcom County Department of Health, responded to the chapter’s concern by performing a source tracking study, which led to the discovery of a failing septic system in the nearby neighborhood. Since then, the septic system has been repaired and bacteria levels at Larrabee State Park have returned to normal.

Meanwhile, the Chapter’s efforts towards sharing their data and forming good relationships with their local environmental and health agencies, may bear even more fruit as another source of pollution is tracked down. The Department of Ecology is tracing the source of another event of high bacterial pollution after being alerted by the Chapter that their Nooksack River Delta sites have been testing high as well. Although not confirmed as of yet, another leaking septic system is suspected.

Thanks to the Chapter volunteers for continuously testing the sites around Bellingham, sometimes covering 30+ miles by bicycle to do so in a "green" manner. Thanks also goes out to Post Point for sharing their laboratory space with the Chapter. Read more about the Chapter's BWTF program here.

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