Ecology publishes report on improving water quality at Budd Inlet

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A new report from the Washington Department of Ecology outlines the steps needed to protect Budd Inlet and provide relief to fish and wildlife and meet state water quality standards.

A new report from the Washington Department of Ecology outlines the steps needed to protect Budd Inlet and provide relief to fish and wildlife and meet state water quality standards.

Olympian file photo

The State Department of Ecology has released a draft report entitled Budd Inlet Total Maximum Daily Load Water Quality Improvement Plan.

The report outlines the steps needed to protect Budd Inlet — which has suffered from algal blooms and low oxygen levels for decades — and provide relief to fish and wildlife while helping the inlet meet state water quality standards, the agency said known Wednesday.

According to a press release, the single biggest cause of the problem is Olympia’s stagnant and shallow Capitol Lake, which encourages the growth of algae and aquatic plants.

“We are committed to working with Budd Inlet stakeholders and residents to address water quality concerns in Budd Inlet and improve the health of the entire watershed,” said Vince McGowan, manager of Ecology’s water quality program, in a statement.

Capitol Lake is not the only factor affecting the inlet’s water quality.

Pollution from homes and businesses that flow into the Deschutes River is contributing to the problem, and the region’s sewage treatment plants are another source of nutrients that can feed algal blooms and reduce oxygen, according to the press release.

To control these sources, the Water Quality Plan sets a “Maximum Daily Total Load” that controls how much nutrient pollution can enter Budd Inlet each day.

The draft report is open for review and comment from June 8 through July 8 before submission to the US Environmental Protection Agency for federal approval.

To read the report go here. To comment online, go here. Comments by mail: Send letters postmarked July 8 to Ben Watson, Washington State Department of Ecology Water Quality Program PO Box 47775, Olympia, WA 98504-7775.

Rolf has been with The Olympian since August 2005. He covers breaking news, the town of Lacey and business for the newspaper. Rolf graduated from Evergreen State College in 1990.

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