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140 acres of shoreline could be reopened to shellfishing soon

The state Department of Health announced Wednesday that about 140 acres of shoreline that was previously off-limits to commercial shellfishing is likely to be reopened, according to Sen. Phil Rockefeller, D-Bainbridge Island.

The area is located on the shores of Suquamish and along the northern tip of Bainbridge Island. The reclassification is the result of improved efficiencies in the reduction of pollution generated from the nearby Suquamish Wastewater Treatment Plant's effluent discharge.

Rockefeller, a member of Puget Sound Partnership's ecosystem coordinating board, credited the work of the partnership — a coalition of businesses, citizens, scientists, and local, state and tribal governments working together to improve Puget Sound's health by 2020.

“This is a clear example of the Puget Sound Partnership’s progress in cleaning up the Sound, and it is happening right in our district," Rockefeller said. "It’s good news for anyone with concern for Puget Sound. We must improve efficiencies in other waste treatment plants to achieve similar pollution reductions.”

The Department of Health's Office of Shellfish and Water Protection consistently monitors the Puget Sound pollution levels using marine water stations located throughout the Sound.

After an inspection of the treatment plant practices and careful monitoring of the pollution levels in the area, the area now meets National Shellfish Sanitation Program standards for the approved classification.  A small area located directly around the treatment plant's outfall will remain closed.

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