Whatcom County Public Works coordinates a routine water quality monitoring program at a fixed-network of approximately 90 sites in County watersheds that discharge to marine waters. Samples are collected at least monthly and analyzed for fecal coliform bacteria. The data are used to prioritize drainages for water quality improvement programs and to characterize general patterns in declining and improving water quality. Additional sampling is conducted in focus areas where elevated fecal coliform levels have been seen consistently and water quality improvement programs are being implemented.
Routine Monitoring Locations:
Number of Sites
30 freshwater, 14 marine
Nooksack River (Portage Bay)
19 freshwater, 12 marine
Birch Bay/Terrell Creek
29 freshwater, 9 marine
7 freshwater, 5 marine
*Locations and frequency of sampling may fluctuate throughout the year.
Current Routine Water Quality Sampling Results (updated monthly):
**Please note, the water quality summaries now reflect an update to Washington State water quality standards for fecal bacteria in the Birch Bay watershed. The current benchmarks used for fecal coliform are consistent with the benchmarks used for other watersheds evaluated by the PIC Program. Meeting these fecal coliform benchmarks in freshwater systems leads to satisfying the Washington State marine water standards to protect public health.