Water Quality Program

Community Solutions for Clean Water
Clean water is an invaluable resource in our community. Not only is it essential for human health, but also for the health of fish, shellfish, wildlife, and livestock. It also provides irrigation for crops and a safe place for water-based recreation.

However, did you know that only 20% of monitoring sites in Whatcom County are meeting water quality standards for bacterial pollution? This is a significant and complex issue. Ensuring clean water for our community requires everyone to be part of the solution.  
Pollution Identification & Correction (PIC) Program
The PIC Program was created to help implement community solutions for clean water.

Whatcom County Public Works uses water quality monitoring data to identify priority areas for improvement programs and provides community outreach and education, technical and financial assistance for landowners, and coordination with County departments and other agencies to identify and address potential bacteria sources.

Visit the pages listed on the menu to the left to learn more about sources of bacterial pollution, water quality monitoring efforts, water quality status in Whatcom County and opportunities for community members to get involved. See our Technical and Financial Assistance page for information on our Septic Maintenance Rebate Program and other resources to assist you in correcting pollution sources and improving water quality.

Contact Us
Gary Stoyka
Natural Resources Program Manager
Erika Douglas
Senior Water Quality Planner
Email the PIC Program
Water & Natural Resources
322 N. Commercial Street, Suite 110
Bellingham, WA 98225
Phone: 360.778.6230

Public Works Department
Phone: 360-778-6200
Fax: 360-778-6201

Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Closed legal holidays
  1. Pollution
  2. Identification
  3. Correction
Key Sources of Pollution

The key potential sources of bacteria that have been identified in Whatcom County coastal drainages are:
  • Animal waste from agricultural operations, domestic pets, waterfowl, and wildlife
  • Human sewage from failing on-site sewage systems (OSS), leaking sewers, or cross-connections.

We are investigating other potential sources of fecal coliform pollution (e.g. rotting wood waste) and will update this website as new information becomes available.
Types of bacterial pollution and their sources.

source collage 

report a problem