Skagit County Shellfish Protection District* - Pollution Control Strategy

*Skagit County Clean Water Program (CWP) / Clean Samish Initiative (CSI) / Pollution Identification and Correction (PIC) Program

Pollution Control Plan

Date Plan Created/Updated

The SPD was created in 1995. Edison community members started meeting to find an answer to the pollution problems in that community. The Skagit County Board of County Commissioners held a study session with staff and community members on February 14, 1995, followed by a public hearing March 14, 1995, and final adoption of the SPD on March 27, 1995. There was no funding mechanism approved for the SPD at this time. Funding began with the establishment of the CWP in 2005.

The CSI PIC Program was established in June, 2010 as part of the EPA grant program. This plan applies to a specific portion of the SPD and not to the entire SPD. Skagit County intends to use the PIC system to address pollution in other areas of the County.

Process for Creating Plan

Three watershed nonpoint action plans were in the process of development at the time of the SPD's creation. They were the Samish Bay, Padilla Bay/Bay View and Nookachamps nonpoint action plans. These action plans were developed through a community-based process as outlined in state regulation. They resulted in a series of recommendations to be carried out by various governmental and non-governmental agencies.

The Skagit County PIC program was created by County staff after consultation with Kitsap County PIC personnel and CSI partners. As an enhancement to the PIC program, a 10-point pollution control plan was created by the CSI in April 2011. The plan came from a meeting convened by the Puget Sound Partnership and the CSI executive committee. The plan was the result of collaboration between CSI Partners and the Puget Sound Partnership.

Link to Pollution Control Plan

Targeted Action Agenda to Address the Fecal Coliform Crisis in the Samish Basin (PDF)

Pollution Source: On-Site Sewage System (OSS)

Identifying Potential Pollution Source

Skagit County regulations for OSS mirror state regulations. Conventional gravity OSSs are to be inspected every three years while all other OSSs are required to have annual inspections. All records, inspections, and permits are tracked through a database, and maps of Marine Recovery Areas (MRAs) and OSSs' status in the twelve MRAs are posted on the web.

Validating Source of Pollution

Inspections are done by individuals certified by SCPH. These Operations & Maintenance (O&M) specialist certifications must be renewed annually. Any reports of deficiencies or ponding sewage are followed-up by SCPH staff via a site visit. Potential OSS system failures as identified by the Skagit County Public Works PIC program also receive SCPH follow-up.

SCPH is also working with commercial OSS inspectors to ensure adequate inspections, and has developed a quality control program for commercial and homeowner inspections.

Verifying Pollution Source Has Been Corrected

OSS failures are tracked to assure correction in a timely manner. If the system cannot be corrected right away (often due to weather conditions) processes are put in place to assure pollution is stopped. For instance, SCPH orders that the outlet to the septic tank is plugged so that the tank works as a holding tank only. A contract with a licensed OSS pumper is required to assure the tank gets pumped regularly.

Establishing a Threshold (concentration, number of counts or flow rate)


Pollution Source: Agriculture

Identifying Potential Pollution Source

Water quality monitoring data is used to focus PIC activities. County, Ecology, and WSDA personnel make agricultural inspections in focus areas as determined by water quality results and refer the landowner to the CD if corrective action is necessary. The CD leads the process for establishing Best Management Practices (BMPs) and farm plans in the Samish. WSDA is responsible for compliance with Dairy Nutrient Management Plans. SCPH maintains a database of OSS inspections and follows up on properties that are not current with inspections.

Validating Source of Pollution


Verifying Pollution Source Has Been Corrected


Other Pollution Source

Pet Waste

Outreach materials for pet owners were developed as part of the PIC program.

Wastewater Treatment Plant

Wastewater Treatment Plants are covered under Ecology permits.

Other (including wildlife, stormwater, marinas)

The county has a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) phase II permit for some of Skagit County. Attempts are made to enumerate wildlife sources of fecal coliform.

More About Skagit County Shellfish Protection District

Other Shellfish Protection Districts