POULSBO — As the pollution-cleanup plan for Liberty Bay nears completion, officials in Kitsap County and elsewhere are beginning to speak out, saying there must be a better way of complying with federal pollution laws.
Like the Dyes-Sinclair Inlet cleanup plan before it, the Liberty Bay plan declares that Kitsap Public Health District is doing a good job of finding and cleaning up bacterial pollution. The plan’s overall recommendation: Keep doing what you’re doing.
The Liberty Bay plan, which cost about $600,000, was written by the state Department of Ecology to comply with the federal Clean Water Act. The plan includes an extensive analysis of how much pollution gets delivered to Liberty Bay from various streams. It assigns “total maximum daily loads,” or TMDLs, which are numerical limits of bacteria for each stream.
Stuart Whitford, manager of the health district’s Pollution Identification and Correction (PIC) Program, says the report has been of limited help in the way his agency goes about cleaning up Liberty Bay. Furthermore, the water-quality standards imposed by the federal process are almost impossible to meet, and the standards have little meaning in the real world.