Just days after a visit from Gov. Jay Inslee to discuss progress being made in cleaning up bacterial pollution in Samish Bay, the bay failed an annual state evaluation.
Rain during Inslee’s visit Monday increased the flow of the Samish River, prompting water sampling and a precautionary shellfish harvest closure on Tuesday.
Skagit County Water Quality Analyst Rick Haley said Wednesday afternoon that the amount of bacteria in the water samples was about 10 times the limit set by the state Department of Health.
The Department of Health closes shellfish harvesting in Samish Bay when the Samish River reaches certain flows that have been associated over the years with high concentrations of fecal coliform bacteria.
Fecal coliform and other bacteria found in human and animal waste can contaminate shellfish and cause illness if oysters are eaten raw.