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Clean Water

Whatcom County depends on clean water for healthy communities, a prosperous economy, and the lifestyle that makes this a special place to live. We recognize that the cost of cleaning up pollution far exceeds the cost of preventing it in the first place. The responsibility to protect and restore our waters is an increasingly urgent one. And our Clean Water program has been growing and extending its reach to ensure Whatcom County protects our precious water resources — Lake Whatcom, the Salish Sea, and all the rivers and streams that flow into it — before they are degraded beyond repair.

To that end, we employ a wide range of approaches, including: research and monitoring, empowering citizen scientists and clean water advocates, working with polluters to change their practices, engaging in public processes, holding unresponsive polluters accountable through litigation, and providing baseline data to track the health of our local waters.

The North Sound Baykeeper is charged with protecting and restoring the marine and nearshore habitats of north Puget Sound. Taking a collaborative approach, the North Sound Baykeeper partners with businesses, organizations, tribes, schools, and decision makers, offering technical assistance and innovative paths toward greater stewardship. Our North Sound Baykeeper is a member of the Waterkeeper Alliance

If you see pollution, report it! Call the Pollution Hotline:  (360) 220-0556.  
Please take photos and be prepared to discuss location and details about the pollution.

Become a North Sound Steward

Join our North Sound Stewards volunteer program and connect with a group of people passionate about protecting the North Puget Sound. The program provides free trainings and opportunities to participate in beach surveys, helping you become a qualified citizen scientist who plays an important role in protecting our marine resources. 

Volunteer groups led by marine scientists will observe sea stars, forage fish, intertidal species, and more to gather important data that informs policy, restoration efforts, cleanups, and other important projects. Read more.

2017 Legislative Session

The 2017 Washington State Legislature page provides information about legislative activity that would impact Whatcom County and the Salish Sea. The Clean Water program is working in collaboration with Washington Environmental Council's Environmental Priorities Coalition to bring you information on priorities including reducing toxic pollution in our communities; ensuring there is enough water for people, farms, and fish; and oil transportation safety. Read more.

Squalicum Clean Water Project
The Squalicum Clean Water Project is a campaign to connect with neighborhoods in the Squalicum Watershed, to inform people about the high levels of fecal coliform pollution in Squalicum Creek, and one of its primary sources: dog poop. The campaign also educates citizens on proper and timely disposal of dog poop on trails, in parks, and at home. Read more.

Bellingham Waterfront Redevelopment
The Bellingham Waterfront Redevelopment campaign brings together community members and volunteers in the Blue Green Waterfront Coalition to advocate for a safe standard of cleanup and living-wage jobs in Bellingham's proposed waterfront redevelopment. Due to state funding cuts in 2016, most community education efforts are on hold. Visit the project page to read background information, issues of concern, and ways to get involved. Read more.

Water Quality Permits
The Water Quality Permits page provides information about pollution permits issued under the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and regulated by the state Department of Ecology. When permits come up for review, citizens can participate in the public process and comment on the details of the permit, calling for stronger environmental regulations where necessary. Read more.

Clean Water Blog

Visit the Clean Water Blog for information about recent projects and campaigns, opportunities to get involved, and more.

  • Op-Ed: It takes a team effort to keep Whatcom County’s water clean By Ann Russell, Clean Water Program Manager. Published in the Bellingham Herald on September 15th, 2017.Clean water defines who we are in Whatcom County – from the streams running clear ...
    Posted Jan 9, 2018, 12:19 PM by Simon Bakke
  • State of the Sound: Progress in Whatcom County, but poor marks for the Salish Sea by Tim Johnson. Published in Cascadia Weekly on November 15th, 2017As the number of endangered Southern Resident orca whales continues to decline and Puget Sound Chinook salmon remain threatened ...
    Posted Jan 8, 2018, 1:19 PM by Simon Bakke
  • Protecting water and farmland: the Whatcom Food Network Fall Forum by Karlee Deatherage, Clean Water Policy AnalystOn a rainy day in the middle of November, over 60 people with diverse backgrounds — from farming to waste management — packed the Ferndale ...
    Posted Jan 3, 2018, 12:19 PM by Simon Bakke
Showing posts 1 - 3 of 36. View more »

The Clean Water program  is supported by Recycling and Disposal Services (RDS).
Since 1996, RDS has been committed to using progressive recycling technologies,
minimizing impact to our environment, and supporting quality of life in Whatcom County.