Everyone deserves a reliable and affordable source of safe drinking water. Lake Whatcom, the source of drinking water for over 100,000 people in Bellingham and parts of Whatcom County, faces an onslaught of threats — oil leaks from cars and boats, pesticides on home gardens and forestry activities, leaking septic systems, bacteria, and algal bloom-causing nutrients like phosphorus. If one single invasive mussel hitches a ride on a boat into the lake, it could require millions of dollars in repairs to property and the city’s water system.
We already have a good path forward to address phosphorus entering the Lake as required by the Clean Water Act; however, we are stepping up to ask Whatcom County and the City of Bellingham to close loopholes, take bold action, and address other pollution threats to the Lake and our health.
Our health and drinking water should not be subjected to half-measures. We need bold action and preventive investments now for the sake of our health and to save money in the long-run.
Ask Whatcom County and the City of Bellingham Councils to:
- Increase investments in water quality testing for pharmaceuticals, carcinogenic fossil fuel compounds from boats and cars (known as benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene, and xylene or BTEX), and common pesticides such as glyphosate.
- Reduce the risk of introducing destructive invasive species by closing public boat launch sites with a gate when the inspection program is not operating.
- Whatcom County Council: Contribute to the City of Bellingham’s Land Acquisition program.
- Strengthen Whatcom County’s Lake Whatcom Watershed Overlay to reduce phosphorus pollution by requiring pervious pavement, limits on lawns for new development and some redevelopment, and no new septic systems.
- Improve tree protection rules in the County and City land use codes.
- Reduce urban sprawl in the Lake Whatcom watershed.