As local sewage treatment plants and collection facilities age, they require improvement, repair, or replacement to maintain useful service. The state's increasing population taxes wastewater treatment systems, creating a need for expanded or new plants.
It is difficult to implement on-site septic system management and repair programs. Local programs to maintain and repair on-site septic systems have been underfunded. Routine maintenance and repair can be expensive for property owners. In many areas, there are low-interest loans
for septic system repair or replacement. Funding is needed for local programs to manage on-site septic systems and to assist landowners with repair or replacement of failing systems.
Sewage, even in small quantities from just a few vessels, can cause pollution that can impact beaches and shellfish beds. The recently established Puget Sound no-discharge zone
is helping to address this problem. Many boaters already avoided discharging sewage by using the region's pumpout stations.
A challenge for addressing agricultural sources of bacteria pollution is that studies are limited to locations where landowners voluntarily grant access or where discharges can be documented from public access. Local conservation districts provide tools and technical-assistance programs. They encourage the use of best practices to manage farm waste. Specific regulatory programs in Washington include the Washington State Department of Agriculture's Dairy Nutrient Management
program and our Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation
general permit. We work closely with farmers on the Agriculture and Water Quality Advisory Committee
to address ways to prevent or control bacterial pollution from livestock.