EPA approves Washington Dept. of Ecology plan to restore Lake Whatcom
“EPA’s approval gives us the certainty that we’ve done our homework and have a clear path forward,” Steve Hood, water quality engineer at Ecology, said. “The stormwater work that local governments have been doing over the last 15 years will be a model for what will continue to happen over the next 50 years.”
The Lake Whatcom Watershed Total Phosphorus and Bacteria TMDL, or total maximum daily load, sets out measures to reduce the amount of phosphorus and bacteria in the lake, which in recent years have put an increased burden on the local water treatment plant. Due to a correlation between urban development and increased phosphorus levels, the plan sets a target of 87 percent of the developed areas on the lake needing to store and filter water as a natural forest would.
“Strong partnerships and commitments from the city and county have given us a head start,” Hood said. “We’re proud of the city and county for the many actions that they’ve already undertaken to restore the lake, before it even became a requirement.”