Image above: Feb 7, 2020

Source: Washington State Department of Health Shellfish Safety Map

Zoom in and click on any part of the dark shaded areas to see “Wastewater plant upset.”

Love to see updated news reporting on this.



February 7, 2020 3:17pm South Whidbey Record

Excess rain causes sewage discharges on Whidbey

A manhole cover shot into the air and sewage poured out onto a city street in Oak Harbor Wednesday night. Untreated sewage is being pumped into the city’s harbor because the new treatment plant can’t keep up with a huge increase in the flow.”

“In Central Whidbey, about 25,000 gallons of “fine solids” from a sewage treatment plant spilled into Penn Cove due to flooding.”

“Bridges said rainwater is likely getting into the sewage lines through cross connections between sewer and stormwater pipes — which is a byproduct of days gone by when the two systems were connected — and through cracks in pipes.”

“As Bridges pointed out, Oak Harbor’s treatment plant wasn’t alone in the region when it comes to rainwater trouble.”

“According to a spokesperson for the Department of Ecology, the Penn Cove Wastewater Treatment Plant was flooded by water from an adjacent wetland Wednesday night. The floodwater entered the aerobic digester, which holds fines solids…”

“About 25,000 gallons of the solids were swept into Penn Cove with the floodwater.”

“The Washington State Department of Health closed shellfish harvesting in the area.”

Much of the area was already closed to recreational shellfish harvest, even in the driest months. Been blogging about this for more than a year. Newspeople did not report on it. Past blogs here, here, and here.


Back to my original post, here:

Looks like a pretty big area. Seems understandable that recent rains could cause problems.

Lets take a look back to the driest time of the year:

Image above: Washington State Dept. of Health status updated Sept. 20th, 2019.

North side of Penn Cove at Monroe Landing

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

Source: WDFW

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

Local water quality

Back in 2017, Island County Public Health posted a sign at the Coupeville Wharf about restrictions on recreational shellfish harvesting.

Several Island County beaches are now closed for recreational shellfish harvest because of sewage treatment outfall.

Sewage treatment outfall. Not stormwater.

This appears to be a routine/ongoing situation.

View the Washington State Department of Health beach list here.

One or more sewage treatment plants are sending unsafe product into Penn Cove?


Love to see newspeople provide updated reporting on this:

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

Source: WDFW


Went out to take a look

I saw no warning signs on 5/21/19 at Monroe Landing.

Image below taken on a March 24, 2019 Penn Cove site visit.

WDFW has posted a permanent sign indicating a dark shaded area in the eastern part of Penn Cove.

Interesting that the part of the cove farthest from open waters is the part where the water is cleaner.

This sign remains in place even during the driest months of the year:

Stewardship is a priority:

Sign below educates the public on local waters.

Saratoga Passage Marine Stewardship Area

Has there ever been a news story to inform the public on the Saratoga Passage Marine Stewardship Area?

Looks like a pretty big area.

I’d be more interested in paying (again) for a local paper subscription if there was more in the way of investigative reporting & newspeople asking questions.

Lack of News Reporting Hurts Newspaper Subscriptions?

More here:




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