"Highest levels reported in the country."
(from Seattle Times)
Adding further strength to the question of how healthy Puget Sound's waters and species harvested from them truly are, the Seattle Times writes on a paper published in Science Direct by James Meador and others with NOAA. The paper discusses the variety of chemicals found both near sewage treatment outfalls and, to their surprise, near south Puget Sound's Nisqually Delta, an area supposed to have been used as a control site, "...our clean reference area." The Seattle Times reported they included Prozac and Cocaine. The Science Direct abstract describes them as "...pharmaceuticals, personal care products (PPCPs), and several industrial compounds."
Source of chemicals unknown.
Better living through chemistry in the northwest.
Equally if not more surprising than chemicals being found in the Nisqually Delta area was that the levels found "... in many cases were higher than in many of the 50 largest wastewater-treatment plants around the nation." Whether the rains of winter bring on the use of more pharmaceutical drugs by residents in the northwest was not explored. Also not studied were levels found in algae, which drifts with the current and which the juvenile salmon and other species consume or filter, nor levels in predators which consume the salmon.
At least something is known of
where pollution in Puget Sound comes from.
Better profits from geoduck grown with plastic cups. And, you just leave them to drift away. Unless somebody complains.
Meanwhile, a short distance from Nisqually Delta, one source of pollution was determined. In a letter written to The Olympian, the writer complained about plastics from a nearby geoduck farm washing up on the shores of Tolmie State Park. In the letter, the author writes that a "...biologist was dissecting several common murre which had washed up on the beach last fall, emaciated and unhealthy. He showed us small pieces of plastic that had been digested and filled their stomachs, inhibiting absorption of nutrients and blocking their ability to survive due to starvation." While the plastic found on Tolmie State Park was not tied to that Murre, its being found so far away at Tolmie State makes the point of geoduck farms clearly continuing to be a "point source" of pollution in Puget Sound all the stronger.
Just because you can't see it
doesn't mean it's not there.
Decades later -
it still takes a letter to the editor
to motivate a geoduck operator.
Was that a bribe or just an offer of employment?
After the letter in The Olympian was published, it was reported a geoduck operator phoned the author and offered to pay for the plastics found. [It should be noted there were no identifying marks on the plastic reportedly found, so who to call was left a mystery.] What the offer was for the pollution found was not reported, nor was it reported whether additional funds would flow for further cleaning of the beach by the author, nor whether silence in the future was requested for the offer. It was reported that after a long period of accumulation, and publication of a letter to the editor, the operator was finally motivated to clean up the pollution. What remains, unseen, still drifting in the waters and along the shorelines, is left unknown.