Investing in cleaner water by the millions (of dollars)

Report showcases water quality projects across Washington

Every year, we support more than 100 clean water projects across the state with grant and loan funding. In the coming weeks, we will announce the awardee list for more than $300 million in funding opportunities — everything from watershed restoration projects to wastewater treatment plant upgrades — all in the name of clean water.

Many of the projects we fund can take a few years to reach completion. We help fund the planning phase of infrastructure investments, so the end result can be years out. We also fund projects that involve plants that need time to grow to be effective, such as riparian areas along streams that help shade the stream and prevent erosion.

What are clean water projects?

To help answer this question and to highlight some of the great community projects across the state, we create an Outcomes Report. 

The 2019-2021 Biennium Outcomes Report is now available as an interactive storymap, showcasing information on water quality improvements achieved by projects we funded and were completed by June 30, 2021. The 186 funding recipients included local jurisdictions, conservation districts, non-profits, utility districts, state agencies, a Tribe, and a university. Grant and loan recipients completed 273 projects with almost $130 million in funding, with 111 of these projects receiving funding through our Combined Funding Program.

Funded projects include wastewater facilities, stormwater management activities and facilities, nonpoint projects, onsite septic system repair and replacement, harmful algae control, and aquatic invasive plant management.

Project highlights

The Outcomes Report is a great way to see the wide range of projects that we can support with grant and loan funding. Many of the projects we fund are related to water quality improvement plans — also known as Total Maximum Daily Loads or TMDLs — in the watershed.

Here are a few project highlights — with many more in the report!

Sewer systems in Ilwaco

The City of Ilwaco used more than $640 thousand in grant and forgivable loan funding and $1.38 million in a low interest loan from Ecology to improve their sewer system. These improvements better protect groundwater by preventing raw sewage leaks.

A construction site shows a deep ditch on the side of a road with pipe next to it and construction vehicles in the background

Stormwater best management practices in Silverdale

With more than $1 million in grant funding from Ecology, Kitsap County is improving water quality in the Clear Creek Estuary and Dyes Inlet with the installation of bioretention in the town of Silverdale. This bioretention project addresses the Sinclair and Dyes Inlets Tributaries Bacteria TMDL, by providing treatment for common stormwater pollutants.

Peshatin wastewater treatment
Clean, new looking tanks and pipes inside of a wastewater treatment facility

Ecology awarded the Chelan County Public Utility District almost $2.6 million in grant and forgivable loan funding and over $2 million in a low interest loan to protect water quality in the Wenatchee River through construction of improvements at the Peshastin wastewater treatment facility. These improvements were completed with the intent to reduce the amount of phosphorus that discharges from the facility into the Wenatchee River. These improvements address the Wenatchee River Watershed Multiparameter TMDL.

Squalicum Creek restoration

The City of Bellingham received $500 thousand in grant money and almost $200 thousand in a low interest loan from Ecology to address the Whatcom, Squalicum, and Padden Creek TMDL. This project rerouted approximately 720 feet of Squalicum Creek away from a constrained reach into two remnant channels, and built on the first several phases of a project to restore the Creek. With more than two acres affected and over 8,000 native trees and shrubs planted, this project improves water temperature, dissolved oxygen, salmon habitat, and beneficial uses in the creek.

View of a creek with sandy edges and new plants growing, with more trees in the background