Banner Environmental Health: Preventing pollution, reducing human exposure to environmental hazards, and ensuring safe and clean drinking water.

Water Pollution IDENTIFICATION & Correction (PIC)

The mission of the Water Pollution Identification & Correction (PIC) program, which started in 1993, is to protect the public from waterborne illness and other water quality-related hazards. Water that is polluted with fecal bacteria is our primary concern. Our job is to ensure that surface waters are safe and sanitary so you don't get sick when you swim in them or eat the shellfish.

Our PIC program is nationally recognized for being innovative and effective. We coordinate our efforts with other agencies through the Clean Water Kitsap partnership, created to reduce flooding, prevent pollution and restore fish habitat through stormwater management activities.

LOOKING FOR TRENDS

We start with the big picture by monitoring long-term quality trends for Kitsap County's marine (salt) waters, lakes and streams (known as surface waters). All Kitsap streams run into the Puget Sound or Hood Canal, so, if the streams are polluted, they can impact marine waters. Our streams are relatively small, so signs of pollution appear early, and damage occurs more quickly.

EARLY WARNINGS

Surface water quality gives us an early warning that development, land uses, and other human activities are beginning to harm the public's health, our shellfish resources, and the environment.
Our primary sources of pollution are:

  • Failing septic and sewer systems;
  • Faulty stormwater systems;
  • Pet and livestock waste;
  • Runoff from farms.

ADDRESSING POLLUTION

Each year our PIC team uses our monitoring data to prioritize a list of the waterways that are the most polluted. Working through this list, they investigate to find the source of the pollution. When they locate the source, they work with property owners to eliminate it.

WATER QUALITY REPORTS

We publish reports about our ongoing efforts to improve water quality, as well as the current priority list of polluted areas we are working on and results for areas we have already improved.

RESPONDING TO SEWAGE SPILLS

To protect the public, we respond around the clock to any report of a sewage spill or leak from a publicly-owned sewer system. System operators are required to report spills to us as soon as they occur. We assess danger to public health. If we determine risk, we issue a no-contact advisory and notify the public on our website and through the media, our list serve, and Facebook. We then ensure the spill is cleaned according to policy by the operator and the threat to public health is over before lifting the advisory.

INSPECTING MARINAS

Marinas can be a significant source of water pollution. We help protect our local waters by inspecting marinas to ensure they follow the regulations for proper sewage disposal. We also provide technical assistance to help them comply.

OUR PARTNERS

The ongoing efforts of these federal, state, and local partner agencies help us in our efforts to improve water quality in Kitsap County.

CONTACT

John Kiess, Environmental Health Director (360) 728-2290 john.kiess@kitsappublichealth.org

 

 



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