The Quilcene-Dabob PIC Project was completed in March 2019.
The Quilcene-Dabob Pollution Identification and Correction (PIC) project addresses 50 miles of coastline and 17,000 acres of marine water, including Quilcene Bay and Dabob Bay. The project began December 1, 2015 and continues through December 31, 2018. The project is funded at a level of 75% by the Washington State Department of Ecology, with 25% match funding from the Jefferson County Clean Water District.
The goal of the project is to restore and protect surface waters for shellfish harvest, recreational use and aquatic life habitat. Additionally, the relationship between freshwater and marine water quality will be better understood. Fecal bacteria have been found in streams draining to Quilcene Bay and Dabob Bay and these bacteria can be indicators of harmful pathogens that can make people sick and threaten shellfish resources. These bays also experienced a heavy marine algae bloom in September 2014, resulting in the highest ever levels of paralytic shellfish poison biotoxins measured in Washington oysters. Questions remain about the potential for non-point fecal sources being associated with nutrient pollution that could be aggravating harmful algae blooms. The area has commercial and recreational shellfish beds that have experienced emergency closures due to contamination. Shellfish and water recreation are important elements of the local economy, and there is a strong desire to maintain open shellfish growing areas and safe water for recreation.
Water quality monitoring will be conducted using methods and protocols outlined in the Quality Assurance Project Plan approved by the Department of Ecology on the following schedule:
- Shoreline inputs monitored for fecal coliform bacteria analysis quarterly for two years;
- 17 stream sites monitored for fecal coliform and nutrient analysis (nitrate + nitrite nitrogen, ammonia, total phosphorous, and total Kjehldahl nitrogen) monthly for 1 year;
- 16 marine sites monitored for fecal coliform and nutrient analysis bi-monthly for two years.
Staff will identify areas of concern based on monitoring results, and collect additional samples to locate possible septic system failures, agricultural contamination, or other pollutant sources. Sample location data will be collected via GPS and mapped in a GIS system. Sample locations and analytical results will be provided to the Department of Ecology’s online database. Trend analysis will be performed for fecal coliform for sites where at least three years of data is available, to begin to characterize whether water quality is improving or worsening.
Staff will complete at least 200 surveys of septic systems by researching records and prioritizing work based on risk factors such as age of septic system and vicinity to surface water. Staff then go door-to-door to provide information about septic system care and maintenance, inspections, and affordable loans and grants. Dye testing will be used when appropriate to determine pollutant impact to local waterways. Staff will facilitate corrective actions on failing septic systems through a combination of public education and enforcement. Status and condition of septic systems in the area will be better understood upon completion of the surveys.
A public meeting was held regarding the project at the Quilcene Community Center on June 17, 2016. Fact sheets have been mailed to property owners showing preliminary monitoring results, and will continue to be provided. A final public meeting will be held at the conclusion of the project.