Door-to-door visits in some Dungeness Valley areas on septic systems this week2005-04-25
by JIM CASEY
Peninsula Daily News
SEQUIM -- The next knock on your door might be the septic police.
They just won't tell you to clean up your act, however; they'll help you should you have a failing system.
Janine Reed, Clallam County environmental health specialist, will start making door-to-door visits this week in neighborhoods along Matriotti, Mud, and Meadowbrook creeks and in the Golden Sands area.
Her initial purpose will be to identify ``septics of concern'' and talk to homeowners about maintaining their systems.
She'll also teach the Septic 101 workshop offered periodically by the Clallam County Department of Health and Human Services.
And she'll help some homeowners share in a $60,000 fund that will help them pump or repair their septics.
Dungeness Bay targeted
Reed's mission is just part of a $1.5 million project that targets Dungeness Bay and its watershed.
Of the total cost, $984,000 comes from a grant by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to the Jamestown S'Klallam tribe.
Other partners in the project are Battelle Marine Sciences Laboratory, Clallam County, Cline Irrigation District, Clallam Ditch Co., Clallam Conservation District and Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society.
The EPA Targeted Watershed Initiative grant to the tribe is one of only 14 of its kind in the nation, one of only two in the Northwest, and the only one in Washington.
On the county level, a portion of six employees' salaries will comprise the $127,411 local match to $307,847 in federal funds for the county's part of the project. The conservation district contributed $350,000.
That so many agencies are sharing in the work is a feather in the county�s cap.
The EPA originally was dubious that they could cooperate. However, they had been doing exactly that for the past five years as members of the Clean Water Work Group.
Other aspects of the work.
--- Expected to last three years
Microbial science (tracking polluting bacteria to their source).
Best management practices, known as BMP�s including, �training� mushrooms to eat pollutants.
The microbial science will allow scientists to identify the best organisms of bacteria as humans, livestock, or domestic pets---all of which are likely culprits for the pollution of Dungeness Bay.
Best management practices will include conditioning mushrooms to attack fecal coliform bacteria---called mycoremediation---without themselves becoming toxic in humans.
The mushrooms would be planted in fenced enclosures where septic pollution seeps into streams.
Another BMP will be the conservation district�s helping the ditch company and irrigation district to enclose irrigation canals in the Carlsborg area in a single pipeline.
The improvement will make the system immune both to evaporation and to pollution. It will cost $250,000.
All of these efforts will be monitored for effectiveness by the county, Battelle and the Jamestown S�Klallam tribe.
Tests will be made before and after the BMP�s are put in place.
The public outreach component of the project will fall largely to the Audubon Society,, which will conduct public workshops and tours and present displays at the Dungeness River Center at Railroad Bridge Park near Sequim.
In the meantime, Reed will be knocking on doors and testing septic systems, especially those that are over 10 years old and those with long histories of repairs without follow-ups.
For more information about the programs, people may call Reed at 360-417-2543.
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