July 13, 2017 South Whidbey Record

Be safe when clamoring for clams, health agency advises

“Penn Cove has a waste water treatment plant in Coupeville and another on the north side at Monroe Landing.”

“Anything west of those outfall pipes is marked ‘Conditionally Approved’, meaning as long as the treatment plants are operating as they should, it’s fine,” Crandell said. “If there is a problem with either treatment plant, shellfish harvesting will be closed immediately.”

“Crandell encourages people to refer to the Shellfish Safety Map on the state Deaprtment of Health website before harvesting shellfish. The interactive map lets people zoom in on beaches.”

“Biotoxins like paralytic shellfish poison can make you sick or even kill you, so always check the Safe Shellfish Map before you go harvest shellfish,” Crandell advised. “In really hot weather, put shellfish on ice immediately. Cook them thoroughly and then throw out the ones that don’t open.”

“Shellfish harvesting tips from the State Department of Health:

For beach closures or warnings, check the state’s website Shellfish Safety Map or call the shellfish hotline.”


Summer 2018

Seattle area:

Kirkland closes popular Juanita beach due to sewage pollution

“Juanita Beach Park will remain closed while officials try to determine the source of bacteria.”

“The beach will remain closed until Wednesday, and possibly longer if bacteria levels don’t return to a safe range, the statement said.”

Clearly, this is seen as a temporary closure. Looks like the source of the bacteria will be investigated.

Whidbey Island:

Monroe Landing

Love to see newspeople get out and ask questions about why:

“This beach is within the closure area for a sewage treatment plant outfall and is unsafe for recreational shellfish harvesting.”

Sounds like the sewage treatment plant is sending unsafe product into Penn Cove?

“State Dept. of Health cautions that Clams,Oysters and Mussels from this beach are not fit for human consumption at any time.”


“State Dept. of Health cautions that Clams,Oysters and Mussels from this beach are not fit for human consumption at any time.”

Looks like the sewage treatment plant issue may be seen as routine or ongoing. Any sense of urgency in reporting details or background on this?

Routine or ongoing? So much so, that WDFW has posted a permanent sign indicating a dark shaded area in the eastern part of Penn Cove:

Image source: Photo posted by WDFW here.

More here: Whidbey recreational (sport) harvest of shellfish


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Photo at top of page:

Washington State Dept. of Health image updated June 16th, 2018.

Source: Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife

View Penn Cove water quality for clam digging using the Dept. of Health map at the bottom of this page.

Still using June 16th, 2018 image because status has not changed.

June 15, 2018 South Whidbey Record:

“Mucking about in clamming class”

“Last year, signs went up closing the waters around Penn Cove to any shellfish harvesting because testing revealed high levels of paralytic shellfish poison. The biotoxin can potentially lead to fatal paralytic shellfish poisoning in humans if consumed.”

“The Penn Cove ban has since been lifted.”

South Whidbey Record, which Penn Cove beach would you recommend for clam digging?


8/3/18 Update:

Looks like the WDFW pages for Penn Cove may no longer be showing the Shellfish Safety Information map. That map can still be found here. And here.

References to “sewage treatment plant outfall” also appear to have been removed.

EAST SAN DE FUCA still shows:

“Shellfish on this beach should only be harvested west of the Rolling Hills Glencairn Community dock. The portion of this beach that lies to the east of the dock is inside a prohibited zone for nearby municipal sewage treatement plant outfalls.”


Link to page here.