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Public Health News

Posted on: May 9, 2019

Duckabush Estuary Commercial Shellfish Beds to Remain Closed for Summer

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May 9, 2019

For Immediate Release

Contact: Anna Bachmann

Jefferson County Public Health

Phone: 360-385-9444 ext. 482

Jefferson County Environmental Public Health (JCEPH) has just completed three seasons of shoreline water quality monitoring from Dosewallips River to the Triton Cove area with funding from a Centennial Clean Water Fund Grant from the Washington State Department of Ecology. JCEPH staff monitored for E. coli bacteria over the winter season, while the Washington State Department of Health (WADOH) continued monthly monitoring for Enterococcus bacteria in the nearshore marine waters for much of the area. These are two forms of fecal bacteria that are associated with the feces from warm-blooded animals.

Sampling results to date

The map included represents the cumulative results for all monitoring since the fall of 2017. In the first winter season of monitoring from 2017-18, we identified six locations with high levels of bacteria (or “High Hits,” sample sites with results greater than 100 MPN[1]/100mL for E. coli) and two locations that we considered “Hot Spots” (sample sites for which the geometric mean (average) of all sample results is > 320 MPN*/100mL for E. coli or sites that had a single sample > 1000 MPN/100mL). These were both off of Rhododendron Lane on Black Point and were dry in the 2018/19 winter sampling season. In the summer of 2018, two new Hot Spots were found in the Duckabush estuary and just south of the Olympic Canal Tracts Development. In this most recent winter of sampling, we found eight High Hit sites and one Hot Spot, which is located just south of the mouth of the Dosewallips River.

Map of Central Hood Canal High Hits and Hot Spots

Central HC PIC hot spots Spring 2019

WADOH marine monitoring in the Dosewallips and Duckabush areas (part of what is classified as the Hood Canal 3 shellfish growing area) showed worsening trends at the mouth of the Dosewallips River but improvements at several other stations within the Dosewallips and Duckabush estuaries, including at the mouth of the Duckabush River[2]. Commercial shellfish beds (and likely recreational beds as well) will remain closed from May to October at the mouth of the Duckabush for the time being, but hopefully the State will be able to reopen the area next year if their sampling results continue to improve.

During the past year, JCEPH and WADOH conducted many sanitary surveys and a number of sanitation concerns in the area have been addressed. Several outhouses in the floodplains as well as other unpermitted septic systems were decommissioned. JCEPH will continue work through the summer of 2019 and wants to encourage everyone to get their septic systems current with their operations and maintenance (O&M) inspection.

Spring O&M classes are over but will be offered again in the fall. Qualifying homeowners can still become authorized to inspect their own system by taking the class online. To find out more, visit our website: under the links for: Environmental Public Health/Septic Systems/Resources for Homeowners.

Rebate funds for O&M inspections have been exhausted but we hope to see additional funding to support the rebate program later this summer. Call 360-385-9444 or check our website for details.

[1] MPN/100mL = Most Probable Number (a statistical probability of the number of organisms) per 100mL; a measure of the amount of E. coli or Enterococcus in a sample.

[2] You can download the Annual Growing Area Review for Hood Canal 3 at:


Jefferson County Public Health
Always Working for a Safer and Healthier Community

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