Waste gets cleaned up, allowing beaches to reopen

Isn’t this the outcome we were hoping for?

Instead of waiting for the rains to wash human waste out into Hood Canal, some folks went out to the Skokomish River with shovels and bags and cleaned up the waste. See the story we posted online this morning.

The cleanup crew included employees of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Hunter Farms. And they were assisted by fishermen who noticed them working.

“The change is dramatic,” Bob Woolrich of the Washington State Department of Health told me today after visiting the area yesterday. “There is virtually no evidence of human waste.”

Woolrich was involved in closing commercial shellfish beds near the mouth of the Skokomish River in Hood Canal. Up until today, his concern was that someone would step in human feces and then wade into the river. I described in a previous Water Ways entry the health risks created when human pathogens come into contact with food, such as commercially grown shellfish.

Woolrich told me the area had been cleaned up so well that he is no longer concerned about people stepping in waste.

Other observers on the river reported a complete change in attitude among anglers once they realized the consequences of their relieving themselves in the bushes — including the potential that this favorite fishing spot might be shut down.

For a few more details, read the news release from the Department of Health or the one from the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

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