Water Quality Decline Has Slowed
According to the latest Lake Whatcom Monitoring Program Annual Report for 2010-11 (Matthews et. al., 2012), our community’s primary drinking water source continues to decline in water quality. The rate of decline has slowed as indicated by some water quality parameters; however, other parameters continue to increase above federal and state clean water standards set to protect human and aquatic health. As a scientist looking at the most recent data, I would conclude, as does Matthews et. al. (2012), that overall trends continue to be variable, but do not appear to have stabilized or reversed, indicating that the lake is still not showing signs of recovering. As a Bellinghamster quenching my thirst with a cool glass of tap water I would go further and conclude that our community’s drinking water quality has crossed the line of no return. For me the defining moment was getting up in the middle of the night last fall and taking a drink of water from the glass I keep by my bed. The taste was such that at first I thought one of my cats had drank out of it just after eating its favorite seafood buffet canned cat food.
Why this is relevant:
This piece was written by April Markiewicz, the associate director and toxicologist in the Institute of Environmental Toxicology at Huxley College of the Environment. She also is president of the People for Lake Whatcom Coalition.