Water Quality

Jefferson County Public Health's Water Quality Division was established in 2007 to enhance and protect the lakes, streams, and marine waters of our county. Our mission is to protect public health by monitoring and responding to threats to water quality for protection of human health and wildlife habitat by using available local, state, and federal funding effectively and efficiently.

Jefferson County has abundant natural resources, including:
  • 40 recreational shellfish beaches
  • 230 miles of shoreline
  • More than 800 lakes
  • Over 18,000 acres of commercial shellfish beds
  • Over 9,000 miles of streams

Clean Water

A Clean Water District was established to help protect water quality and shellfish beds in eastern Jefferson County. Clean Water Projects focus monitoring and pollution correction efforts in areas needing attention.

Water Quality Monitoring

Jefferson County's Clean Water Projects provide regular monitoring of bays, streams and rivers to assure they are not contaminated with non-point source pollution. Much of our monitoring efforts focus on fecal coliform bacteria, nutrient pollution and toxic algae. Data collected through these projects are analyzed and long-term trends are assessed. Results are summarized in our project reports.

Toxic blue-green algae is a recurring problem in some of our lakes. Testing is done to make sure that recreational shellfishing areas are safe from biotoxins caused by harmful algae blooms. Saltwater beaches are monitored in the summer for bacteria levels to ensure swimming is safe.

Pollution Identification & Correction (PIC)

Once problem areas are identified we try to determine the sources of contamination and correct these through our Pollution Identification & Correction Program (PIC) program. The PIC process is nationally recognized for being innovative and effective for addressing water quality problems. For more information, visit the Clean Water Projects page.

Spills & Water Quality Concerns

Report spills or water pollution to the Washington Department of Ecology at https://ecology.wa.gov/Footer/Report-an-environmental-issue/statewide-issue-reporting-form, or call 1-800-OILS-911. If you have a water quality concern or question that is not urgent, you can contact our department Monday through Friday from 9:00 to 4:30 at 360-385-9444.

Water Quality News, Events, Documents & Data

The Water Quality Department issues Health Advisories through the News Flash section of our website, a Water Quality Blog and other educational and awareness-raising information for county residents.