Clean Water Program

Thurston County's

Clean Water Program

​Routine water quality testing in Thurston County has shown high levels of harmful bacteria in some local creeks and waterways. The goal of the Clean Water Program is to reduce bacteria pollution to improve water quality in Thurston County and protect public health. Thurston County Public Health is committed to working with Thurston County residents to protect our water, now and for future generations.

Our Goal

Work with the community to reduce bacteria pollution to improve water quality in Thurston County.

Our Plan

  • Continue to collect water samples.
  • Locate sources of bacteria pollution.
  • Offer site visits.
  • Offer education, assistance and referrals for failing septic systems and other sources of bacteria.
Area we plan to focus on:

We're currently focusing on three areas that have historically had high levels of bacteria.

​Where does bacteria come from?

Bacteria pollution comes from human and animal waste from:

  • Failing Septic Systems

  • Stormwater

  • Pet and Livestock Waste

  • Wildlife

  • How you can help:
    • If you receive a letter about a voluntary site visit, reach out to us with any questions or concerns so we can work together.
      • Over-watering your lawn can cause extra water to runoff and carry bacteria pollution from your yard into storm drains, rivers, streams, and Puget Sound. Lawns only need 1 inch of water each week to stay green all summer. This inch includes water from any rain that we may receive. For dormant lawns that are allowed to turn brown, water 1 inch per month, spread out over the entire month. If you have an irrigation system, check to make sure it's adjusted for your current landscape and not a new lawn. You can find more lawn care information here: 5 Steps to Natural Yard Care

      • Clean up pet waste regularly

      • Always cover and contain manure piles. Manure is a great resource, don't let the nutrients wash away with the bacteria!

      • Keep pets, chickens and other livestock, and their wastes, away from water.

        Maintain healthy pasture areas.

      • Inspect your septic system every year and get it pumped as needed, usually every 3-5 years.
      • Keep wildlife, wild! Don't feed wild animals.
      • Keep water from running off your yard by planting native plants. Make sure that spouts and diverters direct water run-off  into planted areas, not your local water body.