Water Quality Monitoring Results

  1. Monitoring Locations
  2. Water Quality Standards

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Whatcom County Water Quality Summaries
Routine Water Quality Monitoring Results Map
Source Identification Monitoring Results Map
Lummi Natural Resources Monitoring Results Map
Whatcom County Routine Monitoring Stations Map
Watershed Health Assessment Map
Shellfish Growing Area Status Map
Glossary of Terms

Water Quality Monitoring

Whatcom County Public Works coordinates a routine water quality monitoring program at a fixed-network of approximately 90 sites in County watersheds that discharge to marine waters. Samples are collected at least monthly and analyzed for fecal coliform bacteria. The data are used to prioritize drainages for water quality improvement programs and to characterize general patterns in declining and improving water quality. Additional sampling is conducted in focus areas where elevated fecal coliform levels have been seen consistently and water quality improvement programs are being implemented.   

Water Quality Status in Whatcom County

By the end of 2015, approximately 80% of the freshwater sampling sites in Whatcom County were not meeting the standards for fecal coliform bacteria. Unfortunately, our bays and harbors suffer the downstream consequences of polluted neighborhood creeks. Three commercial shellfish growing areas and several recreational shellfish areas are currently closed to harvest due to elevated bacteria levels.

The map below shows all of the routine water quality sampling sites monitored by Whatcom County Public Works.WCPW_Routine_Monitoring_forPICwebsite

Current Routine Water Quality Sampling Results (updated monthly):


See map above for watershed delineations.

Interactive County-Wide Water Quality Maps

The WCPW staff coordinates with County Health, Planning and Development Services (PDS), Whatcom Conservation District (WCD), and State Departments of Agriculture (WSDA) and Ecology (DOE) to monitor water quality and respond to drainages where elevated bacteria levels are consistently observed. See interactive maps below for a compilation of preliminary results across watersheds. 

Click on the map below for preliminary results from routine water quality monitoring by Whatcom County, Nooksack Tribe and Washington State Department of Ecology.


Click on the map below for preliminary source identification results from Washington State Departments of Agriculture and Ecology.


Click on the map below for fecal coliform standards compliance results from Lummi Natural Resources.



Click on the map below to view all routine water quality monitoring sites in Whatcom County.


Click on the map below for the Whatcom Conservation District's Watershed Health Assessment.

Watershed Health Assessment Map  

Click on the map below for the Washington State Department of Health's commercial shellfish growing area status map. 

This map is intended for COMMERCIAL shellfish harvesting purposes only. Click here for RECREATIONAL harvesting on public and private beaches.
View preliminary lab results from Department of Health's marine sampling.

View the City of Bellingham's Urban Stream Monitoring Program results here.

Glossary of Terms

Watershed: An area of land that drains all the streams and rainfall to a common outlet such as the outflow of a reservoir, mouth of a bay, or any point along a stream channel.
Routine/ambient monitoring: A fixed network of sites are visited on a pre-determined schedule to monitor water quality at that location during all types of environmental conditions.
Source tracking/storm monitoring: Monitoring locations are specifically selected in order to target locations where high bacterial counts were recently observed. Also used to refer to monitoring that is conducted during specific events, such as storms.
Preliminary data: Water quality sample results from the lab that are not yet finalized. Access to preliminary data is provided to accelerate the identification and correction of potential pollution sources. 
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