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Posted on: September 14, 2012

Online resource now includes information about pollution in shellfish beds

Friday Sep 14 2012 9:04 AM

The public can now access Pierce County's quarterly shellfish bed sampling results for Filucy Bay, Rocky Bay and Burley Lagoon via the county's online system that provides information about the health of waterways in Pierce County.

The shellfish sampling results show the levels of pollution present in local shellfish beds.

"We need to know the status of the county's water quality, groundwater levels, stream flows, and biology so we can make decisions to improve the health of watersheds," said Dan Wrye, Pierce County Public Works and Utilities water quality manager. "The goal of this online tool is to make watershed health information more available and accessible to the public."

The results and detailed instructions on how to access them are available at www.piercecountywa.org/watershedhealthdata.

Monitoring water quality
Public Works and Utilities monitors local streams and beaches for contaminants that could affect the health of humans and wildlife. The department also measures pollutants such as fecal coliform bacteria, which come from pet waste, leaky septic systems and livestock.

Most of the pollution found in local shellfish beds gets there via rainwater runoff. When it rains, the rain washes pollution like human and animal waste and fertilizers, as well as auto oil and metal particles into the stormwater drainage systems. Those systems, such as ditches, pipes, and culverts, transport that water to local waterways - usually without treatment.

Shellfish bed sampling results, as well as links to 16 local weather stations, are enhancements to the system. Pierce County launched the online system in 2011 to provide access to watershed monitoring data. The site offers:

* An interactive map of all monitored streams and shellfish beds in Pierce County.* Links to monitoring data for all monitored streams and shellfish beds in Excel or PDF formats.
* Links to real-time weather station data.* An annual water quality report card and information about how streams get their grades.

Other resources
Since 2008, Pierce County has published an annual Surface Water Health Report Card for 30 streams in the county. The report card summarizes the water quality of each stream and provides a grade based on the data collected from that stream. Past report cards can be found at www.piercecountywa.org/monitoring.

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Tiffany O'Dell, Public Works and Utilities education and outreach coordinator(253) 798-2468todell@co.pierce.wa.us

Anne Radford, Public Works and Utilities public information officer(253) 798-2464aradfor@co.pierce.wa.us

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