The Department of Health's Office of Environmental Health and Safety is managing a six-year Puget Sound pathogen reduction grant. The grant focuses on preventing and reducing pathogen pollution in Puget Sound through management of human and animal wastes.
The EPA funded Pathogens Grant is helping to reach the Puget Sound Partnership's shellfish vital sign—upgrading 10,800 acres of harvestable shellfish beds by 2020—by improving water quality. It will advance the goal of a “swimmable, diggable, fishable” Puget Sound and aligns with the Washington State Shellfish Initiative.
EPA has provided almost $15.2 million to manage pathogen pollution for the following projects:
- On-site Sewage System Management – Puget Sound health jurisdictions are documenting, inspecting and fixing failing on-site sewage systems that pollute Puget Sound. Regional projects are helping local communities establish sustainable funding for on-site sewage system management and septic repairs.
- Pollution Identification and Correction (PIC) – Local communities are monitoring water quality to identify pollution sources and providing outreach, technical assistance, incentives and enforcement to reduce pollution from onsite sewage systems and farms.
- BEACH Program – Monitor and notify the public about bacterial pollution at recreational beaches.
- Livestock Management – Work with farmers to install fencing, feeding and watering facilities to keep manure out of streams. Conduct site visits and offer technical and financial assistance to reduce pollution from farms.
- Vessel Sewage – Explore designating Puget Sound as a No Discharge Zone to prohibit boats from dumping sewage in Puget Sound. Install pump out facilities and encourage their use.
- Research – Research new technologies to reduce pollution and pathogens.
- Data Management and Reporting – Improve our tracking of pathogens and notify the public about shellfish closures and biotoxin threats through updating our data management and reporting system.
- Grant Strategy – Develop an investment strategy to ensure coordination with the Puget Sound Action Agenda.
EPA provided awards to the Department of Health and other state agencies to implement the Puget Sound Action Agenda by developing and carrying out strategies in four areas:
- Pathogens prevention, reduction, and control (Departments of Health and Ecology).
- Toxics and nutrients prevention, reduction and control (Department of Ecology).
- Marine and nearshore protection and restoration (Departments of Fish & Wildlife and Natural Resources).
- Watershed protection and restoration (Departments of Ecology and Commerce).
Megan Schell, 360-236-3307