Fecal bacteria threatens Puget Sound beaches

Fecal bacteria threatens Puget Sound beaches »Play Video

DOSEWALLIPS STATE PARK, Wash. -- The State Department of Health has closed shellfish harvesting in parts of Vaughan Bay in Peirce County because of dangerous bacteria found in the water.

As a result, 14 other beaches across Puget Sound are now threatened due to fecal bacteria found in the water.

"The rain flushes it down into the river valley, and it brings it right into the Puget Sound," said John Adam who is the manager of Taylor Shellfish Farms along the Dosewallips Tidal Flat. 

The contamination comes from multiple sources including seasonal camping, dogs on the beach, livestock, aquatic wild life and septic systems.

"We know it's a problem that's affecting our environment and our health, and we know it's a problem that is growing, were responsible for it, and it's going to get worse," said Adams.

Threatened beaches will have to close down if the bacteria gets worse, but for now they are safe to harvest from.

"The amount of stake holders involved in this thing makes it tricky, and there's no political capital to get it done, because it going to take money, said Adams.

Shellfish growing areas on the "threatened" list include:

Bay Center (Pacific County)
Grays Harbor (Grays Harbor County)
Henderson Inlet (Thurston County)
Hood Canal 3 (Jefferson County)
Hood Canal 6 (Mason County)
Naselle River (Pacific County)
Nemah River (Pacific County)
Penrose Point (Pierce County)
Pickering Passage (Mason County)
Port Orchard Passage (Kitsap County)
Port Susan (Snohomish County)
Portage Bay (Whatcom County)
Poverty Bay (King County)
Rocky Bay (Pierce County)

The Washington Department of Health will continue to test for increasing fecal bacteria.