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Kitsap Public Health releases 2013 Water Quality Report

BREMERTON — The Kitsap Public Health District, in partnership with the Kitsap County Storm Water Management Program, released its 2013 Water Quality Report for Kitsap County on March 4.

The report summarizes bacteria levels in 57 Kitsap County streams, five marine embayments, 10 marine shoreline areas, and 12 lakes.

To protect public health, Kitsap Public Health tests streams and marine waters monthly, and public swimming beaches weekly during the summer months. Public health advisories are posted when contamination levels are high enough to pose a health risk and to alert people that they can become ill if they come into contact with the water.

The annual list of streams that will require public health advisories in 2014 is also included in the report.

Kitsap Public Health’s Water Pollution Identification and Correction (PIC) Program uses this extensive water quality monitoring data to help clean up pollution sources. Once bacterial sources are identified, PIC staff work with property owners to develop corrective action plans.

The PIC Program’s work has been recognized by the Washington State Department of Health and Department of Ecology, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Puget Sound Partnership, and serves as a model for other Puget Sound Counties. Kitsap Public Health has published a regional PIC guidance document for other jurisdictions to use, and is currently sharing PIC experience and resources with Mason and Jefferson counties to complete the Regional Hood Canal PIC Project.

Some highlights from the 2013 water quality report include:

• Water Quality Improvements in Sinclair Inlet. Our cleanup efforts are making a difference. The Sinclair Inlet Restoration Project was completed in 2013 resulting in improved water quality in Annapolis, Gorst and Sacco Creeks. During the project, 784 onsite sewage systems were inspected. There were 84 failing septic systems identified and 79 (94 percent) have been corrected to date. Of the 34 high priority agricultural properties identified, 30 (88 percent) have implemented best management practices. The final report for the Sinclair Inlet project is available at www.kitsappublichealth.org.

• Twenty (20) Streams Showed Improvements in 2013.  Correction of pollution sources such as failing septic systems, adopting best management practices to prevent run-off from gricultural properties, and practices such as picking up and disposing of pet waste are continuing to protect the water quality of Kitsap streams. Overall, 20 Kitsap streams showed water quality improvements in 2013. No streams showed decreasing water quality trends.

• Public Health Advisories for Streams. The streams requiring public health advisories in 2014 include Lofall Creek which drains into northern Hood Canal, and Ostrich and Phinney Creeks which drain into Dyes Inlet. There has been a 50-percent reduction in the number of stream advisories since 2012.

• Public Health Advisories for Swimming Beaches. There were two public health advisories issued in 2013 for potentially toxic algae blooms. The first advisory was posted for Kitsap Lake Park between August 28 and December 15, 2013. The second advisory was issued for Long Lake County Park between November 13 and December 15, 2013.

•  Ongoing Shoreline Monitoring Program Initiated. With funding from the Kitsap County Storm Water Management Program, Kitsap Public Health initiated a new comprehensive shoreline monitoring program in Kitsap County. Four shoreline surveys were completed in 2013. This ongoing program will enable Kitsap Public Health to perform shoreline monitoring in all watersheds in Kitsap County on a rotating basis to help restore shellfish growing areas and protect public health.

The annual water quality report is available on the Kitsap Public Health website at www.kitsappublichealth.org.

For more information, contact Eva Crim at (360) 337-5621, Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., or at eva.crim@kitsappublichealth.org.

 

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