Ecology Department Seeks Public Input

The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) is seeking comments from community groups, local officials and interested citizens regarding which polluted...

The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) is seeking comments from community groups, local officials and interested citizens regarding which polluted water bodies in Pierce and Thurston counties should begin cleanup planning next summer.

Over the past years, Ecology has developed cleanup plans for 270 of nearly 700 polluted lakes, rivers and streams in Washington. A legal agreement signed in 1998 commits Ecology to complete water cleanup plans for these polluted streams by 2013.

“Cleaning up Washington’s polluted water bodies is an enormous task, but we have made tremendous progress,” said Dave Peeler, who manages Ecology’s water quality program. “We are asking people to help make sure our priorities are right because water quality is something that affects everyone.”

The plans (also referred to as total maximum daily loads, or TMDLs) determine the amount of pollution a water body can receive and still remain healthy. Ecology works in affected communities to identify pollution sources and develop strategies to clean up the water.

Most water pollution comes from common sources such as household and garden chemicals, runoff from urban streets and failing septic systems. Restoring water quality can mean greater access to swimming, fishing and boating.

Ecology is proposing to begin cleanup plans or further studies for some water bodies in Pierce and Thurston counties beginning in the summer of 2005. The list of polluted water bodies under consideration is available online at http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/303d/.

People are invited to ask questions and/or send comments and recommendations Ecology by Jan. 8, 2005. They also may ask to meet with Ecology staff to discuss potential cleanup plans. Comments about Pierce and Thurston waters should be directed to Kim McKee at 360-407-6407 or by e-mail at kmck461@ecy.wa.gov.

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