Water Quality Improvement Project
Fauntleroy Creek Area:
Fecal Coliform Bacteria

Fauntleroy Creek, Washington State.  Courtesy of Chris Coffin, WA Department of Ecology.

Introduction

Fauntleroy Creek is an urban creek located four miles south of Alki Point on the West Seattle peninsula. Fed perennially by runoff and springs, the creek begins in Fauntleroy Park and flows about one mile through alternating culverts and open reaches before entering Fauntleroy Cove in Puget Sound. As a result of Seattleā€™s stormwater infrastructure, the drainage area into Fauntleroy Creek dramatically decreased to one third its historical size, about 149 acres. Ecology defined this present-day Fauntleroy Creek drainage basin as the study area for developing the TMDL. The implementation area extends beyond the study area to the larger historical creek drainage basin, so education and public awareness activities can be applied to the larger Fauntleroy community. (See Study Area map)

 

Water quality issues

Fauntleroy Creek has too much fecal coliform bacteria. Stream samples from the creek show bacteria levels beyond what Washington State allows in our freshwaters. Fauntleroy Creek is not unique. Fecal coliform bacteria are a common water quality problem in our state. They belong to a mostly harmless group of bacteria commonly found in large numbers in the feces of people and other warm-blooded animals such as pets and wildlife. However, they indicate that more serious disease-causing organisms, called pathogens, may be present in the water. Stormwater runoff and other discharges can carry these small organisms into the creeks where they pollute the water and can infect humans through skin contact or ingestion of water.

Fauntleroy Creek sign, Washington State.  Courtesy of Chris Coffin, WA Department of Ecology.

What is being done

Ecology has a longstanding interest in improving water quality in urban creeks, such as Fauntleroy Creek. In 2007, Ecology produced a fecal coliform TMDL study for Fauntleroy Creek which identifies the pollution problems and specifies how much pollution needs to be reduced to achieve clean water. This report can be found at https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/publications/SummaryPages/0710037.html.

As a follow-up to the TMDL study, Ecology works with the local community to prepare a water quality implementation plan that details the specific actions needed to reduce fecal coliform bacteria levels in Fauntleroy Creek. The plan describes management roles, activities, and schedules for partners. The city of Seattle and Fauntleroy Watershed Council have been active partners in restoring Fauntleroy Creek for years and assisted in the development of this plan. From this point on our efforts will build upon their accomplishments to improve water quality in Fauntleroy Creek.

Status of the project

Water Quality Improvement Project (TMDL) Timeline:

June 2007 Ecology submits Fauntleroy Creek Fecal Coliform Bacteria TMDL Report to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
August 2007 U.S. EPA approves the Fauntleroy Creek Fecal Coliform Bacteria TMDL Report.
August 2007 - May 2008 Ecology works with local partners to prepare a water quality implementation plan (WQIP) that details actions for reducing fecal coliform bacteria pollution in Fauntleroy Creek.
May 16 to June 16, 2008 Public Comment Period
July 21, 2008 Final WQIP sent to EPA.

Technical information

Ecology River and Stream Water Quality Monitoring Data for Fauntleroy Creek (2005-2006)

Fauntleroy Creek Fecal Coliform Bacteria TMDL/Water Quality Improvement Report (Ecology Publication)

Fauntleroy Creek Fecal Coliform Bacteria TMDL/Water Quality Implementation Plan (Ecology Publication)

Related information

Focus on Bacteria in Fauntleroy Creek (Ecology Publication)

Fauntleroy Watershed Council (http://www.fauntleroy.net/watershed/about.htm not available)

WRIA 9: Duwamish-Green Watershed Information (Water website)

2008 Pet Waste Study (Fauntleroy Watershed Council)

 

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Last updated October 2012
  Water resource inventory area (WRIA) 8 map, Washington State.

PROJECT INFO

Location:
WRIA: #9 (Duwamish-Green)
County:
 King

Water-body Names:
Fauntleroy Creek

Parameters:
Fecal Coliform

# of TMDLs:
Fecal Coliform - 1

Status:
TMDLs approved by EPA
Has implementation plan

Contact Info:
Joan Nolan
Phone: 425-649-4425
Email: Joan.Nolan@ecy.wa.gov

Northwest Region
Department of Ecology
3190 160th Ave. SE
Bellevue, WA 98008-5452