It’s time to clean up our streams (and act)

Back in the day, when Poulsbo was an infant of a city, there was a peculiar smell downtown. The locals scratched their heads in confusion. What could possibly be causing the unpleasant stench that nearly stifled breathing on a warm day?

The answer delighted rats and frustrated the city council. The city’s wastewater system was inadequate, causing wastewater to come to rest under sidewalks and high on the tidelands.

The water sat, stagnant, creating a multitude of unpleasant aromas for all to breathe.

To fix it, the council declared sewer lines must extend past the half-way tide mark, allowing the wastewater to drain ... into Liberty Bay.

How far we’ve not come in the last 100 years.

Granted, our wastewater no longer runs directly into Liberty Bay. But, according to the Kitsap County Health District’s 2009 Water Quality Report, two of the county’s five most fecal coliform bacteria-laden streams are right here in North Kitsap.

How did our streams become so contaminated the Health District has warned against coming into contact with the water? A variety of ways: Septic tanks play a role, as does animal waste. You know, animal poo.

The thought of sharing our lakes and streams with an unhealthy amount of fecal coliform is just nasty.

If you own a septic tank, it’s your responsibility to make sure it works properly. If you walk a dog near a stream, clean up after it.

We’re all responsible for limiting our impact on the world around us.

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