Water Quality in Bellingham, Washington
Watershed: Lower Whatcom Creek
What is the water quality like in Bellingham, WA?
Let’s dive deeper into what’s in Bellingham water.
What’s in Bellingham water?
Here are the top 5 chemical compounds in your water and what health issues they can potentially cause:
- Bromodichloromethane – Potential effect: Cancer
- Chloroform – Potential effect: Cancer
- Haloacetic acids – Potential effect: Cancer
- Hexavalent Chromium – Potential effect: Cancer
- Total trihalomethanes – Potential effect: Cancer
These are five of the 16 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org).
10 of these contaminants are rated as exceeding EWG Health Guidelines.
See the What Can You Do? section below for all of the contaminants you can filter out and how to do it.
Where does Bellingham’s water come from?
Bellingham’s water comes from the Lower Whatcom Creek watershed.
20 of the 21 EPA assessed water sources in the Lower Whatcom Creek watershed are in Impaired or Unknown condition. These include:
- Bellingham Bay – two segments
- Cemetery Creek – three segments
- Fever Creek – two segments
- Hanna Creek – two segments
- Lincoln Creek – three segments
- Whatcom Creek – seven segments
- Whatcom Lake
Ideally, a water source would be rated in Good condition. One segment of Whatcom Creek is in Good condition.
Whether a water source is in Impaired or Good condition refers to the quality of these uses:
- Drinking Water
- Aquatic Life
- Fish and Shellfish Consumption
Learn more from How’s My Waterway
See below for what you can do to improve Bellingham’s water.
Conclusion – What Can You Do?
Information about water quality can be surprising.
But there’s no reason to lose hope. There are things you can do in your household as well as things you can do at a community level.
In Your Household:
- Use Berkey filters with activated carbon to filter out 13 of the 16 contaminants in your drinking water.
- To filter out 14 of the 16 contaminants, consider a Reverse Osmosis water filtration system for your house.
- These are more expensive than pitchers to purchase, but can be more effective.
- They have the benefit of filtering out heavy hitters like:
- Barium – health risks in water
- Bromochloroacetic acid
- Bromodichloromethane – health risks in drinking water
- Chloroform – side effects
- Dichloroacetic acid
- Haloacetic acids – chlorination byproduct*
- Hexavalent chromium – health effects
- Total trihalomethanes – byproduct of chlorination*
- Trichloroacetic acid
*Chlorination is an effective method of disinfecting/treating drinking water. You can then use a water filter to reduce the effects of chlorination byproducts to get the safest, cleanest water possible.
In Your Community:
Contact your local government officials and put pressure on them to invest in cleaner waterways and upgraded city water filtration and treatment.
Go to: https://cob.org/gov/dept to find contact information for your local officials.