BLAINE - The Washington state Department of Health reopened Drayton Harbor to commercial harvesting Wednesday, April 17, because fecal coliform pollution has dropped to safe levels.
It was closed Friday after water samples taken earlier in the week - following heavy rain and polluted runoff - from where California and Dakota creeks empty into Drayton Harbor showed very high levels of fecal coliform bacteria.
Water samples taken Monday, April 15, showed that the harbor was once again safe for shellfish harvesting.
"It doesn't surprise us that it's an intermittent event," said Bob Woolrich, shellfish growing area manager with the state Department of Health, on Wednesday.
"We've had those intermittent heavy rains and that's apparently what caused the problem," he added.
Fecal coliform bacteria come from human and animal feces. The bacteria enter waterways in several ways - horse and cow manure, pet and wildlife waste, and failing septic systems.
People can become sick after coming into contact with polluted water or eating tainted shellfish.
The state Department of Health also reopened Samish Bay on Wednesday after high levels of pollution prompted a closure of the bay's shellfish beds last week.
Recent water samples showed that fecal coliform levels were again safe for shellfish harvest.
Reach Kie Relyea at 360-715-2234 or firstname.lastname@example.org.