2015 PIC Pilot Project
Lower Dungeness Water Quality
In 2014, the Clallam County Environmental Health, in partnership with the Clallam Conservation District, Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe and public, developed a Pollution Identification and Correction (PIC) plan to map out a strategy for identifying and correcting sources of water pollution. For more information on the public PIC planning process, visit the Clallam Conservation District PIC web page.
Implementation of a PIC pilot project began in summer 2015 in the lower Dungeness watershed, including the areas of Golden Sands Slough, Meadowbrook Slough, Meadowbrook Creek, and the Dungeness River. PIC work continues to show success and the project area will now expand to include waters further up the Dungeness into the Matriotti watershed.
The marine shoreline of the Lower Dungeness watershed has abundant shellfish beds that have been harvested and enjoyed for generations. This watershed and its freshwater tributaries (including Meadowbrook Creek, Golden Sands Slough, Meadowbrook Slough, Cooper Creek, and Dungeness River) also have a long history of fecal bacteria pollution dating back to the early 1990’s. Because of this, the tidelands surrounding the mouth of the Dungeness River are closed to shellfish harvest year-round, and other areas are closed during winter months. Over the past 15 years water quality improvements have been made, leading to shellfish area upgrades, but there is more to do.
What are the water quality concerns?
This area continues to have fecal pollution problems associated with failing septic systems and animal waste. The Lower Dungeness area needs ongoing work to protect people from getting sick from direct water exposure or through shellfish consumption. The winter months, when the ground is saturated, are when marine water quality is most impacted. Controlling and reducing bacteria entering stormwater and inspecting and fixing septic system and proper disposal of animal waste are our priorities.
What is being done?
Clallam County Environmental Health with its partners has implemented a Pollution Identification and Correction (PIC) pilot program. Staff work with property owners and residents to reduce fecal pollution and provide site-specific tips on how to get the most life from onsite septic systems. If we find localized pollution in your neighborhood, we will:
- Contact you to arrange a meeting on your property
- Provide you with your septic records and free technical assistance about how to get the most life from your septic investment
- Ask permission to see your septic system, and in some cases, collect water samples and perform dye testing
- Help you prevent fecal pollution
- Monitor water quality changes and report to the community
- Inform you of financial and technical resources available to help homeowners if a fecal pollution problem is identified on their properties