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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, November 9, 2007
Sue Davis, Senior Environmental Health Specialist, 360-754-4111

Public Workshop Set on Woodland Creek Report

OLYMPIA – A special workshop will be held on Wednesday, November 14, 2007 for those living in the area near Martin Way and Woodland Creek.  The meeting will be a chance for residents to hear the results of a consultant's analysis of pollution impacting the creek, groundwater and Henderson Inlet and to learn how effective different actions would be at improving the water quality conditions. 

Studies by the Washington Department of Ecology have shown serious fecal coliform bacteria pollution in Woodland Creek downstream of Martin Way .  Shallow groundwater in the area is also contaminated with nitrates at amounts over the drinking water limit in some places.  Fecal coliform bacteria and nitrate contamination indicate that human sewage, animal waste, and other pollutants such as fertilizer are seeping into the groundwater and flowing into the creek.

Woodland Creek flows into Henderson Inlet.  Over the past 5 years, increasing fecal coliform bacteria levels have caused the State Department of Health to close more of the Henderson Inlet tidelands to shellfish harvesting.  The nitrate problem has forced several small private water systems to abandon their wells and connect to the city water system.  As required by the Federal Clean Water Act, the State Department of Ecology has mandated reductions of fecal coliform bacteria in Woodland Creek and storm pipes that drain into the creek.  Ecology has also directed that nitrate levels in groundwater be reduced.

Thurston County , in partnership with the City of Lacey and the LOTT Wastewater Alliance, began a two-year project in January 2006 to examine this pollution problem and plan steps to correct it.  The project is funded in part with a grant from the Washington State Department of Ecology.

On the evening of November 14th the consultants will present the results of a model used to estimate the amount of pollution reduction that could be achieved by taking three different combinations of actions.  The types of actions considered include upgrading septic systems, converting septic systems to sewer, infiltrating stormwater into the soil rather than discharging it to Woodland Creek, and educating citizens on better ways to manage pet waste and yard landscaping.  (The general project area is east of Woodland Creek along Martin Way to Marvin Road, including the Tanglewilde and Thompson Place neighborhoods.  It also includes an area west of Woodland Creek along 15th Avenue to Sleater-Kinney Road , including the Woodland Creek Estates, Westminster , Alonda Villa, and Midway neighborhoods.) Those attending will also be able to ask questions, express concerns about conditions in their neighborhoods, and offer opinions about the pollution-reducing options examined by the consultant.

A public workshop on the pollutant model results for the Woodland Creek Pollutant Load Reduction Study will be held at 6:30 PM, Wednesday, November 14th at the Expo Center at the Thurston County Fairgrounds located at 3054 Carpenter Road SE.  Those interested can read a summary of the results and complete an opinion survey, by visiting the Thurston County web site at - http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/health/ehrp/woodland.html

County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3