Water Quality Improvement Project
Granger Drain:
Fecal Coliform Bacteria


Granger Drain and its watershed includes approximately 18,000 acres of prime agricultural land. It is located in the lower reaches of the Yakima River Basin, near the city of Granger. The climate in the watershed is semi-arid, with average rainfall totals seven to nine inches.

Water from the Yakima River is the primary source for irrigation in the watershed. The mainstem Granger Drain is the main collector for irrigation water to return to the Yakima River.

Water quality issues

Analysis of data from a number of studies in the Granger Drain watershed revealed high concentrations of fecal coliform bacteria in the water. The principal sources for the fecal coliform are suspected to be a combination of point sources (concentrated animal feeding operations) and nonpoint sources (livestock pastures and grazing lands). (See Study Area map)

Why this matters

Fecal coliform is a type of “bacteria” common in human and animal waste. It can make people sick and cause the closure of shellfish harvesting beds. Bacteria can get into our waters from untreated or partially treated discharges from wastewater treatment plants, from improperly functioning septic systems, from wildlife, and from unknown sources. Also, federal law requires the state to protect the “most sensitive” beneficial uses found in waterbodies, including the ability to swim, fish and play on the state’s lakes, rivers and streams.

People can help keep bacteria out of the water. Properly collect, bag, and trash dog poop. Check your on-site sewage system to make sure it is maintained and working properly.

Status of the project

EPA approved the water quality improvement report (TMDL) in 2001. Ecology, along with interested parties in the Granger Drain area, developed a water quality implementation plan, also known as a detailed implementation plan. Ecology provided a copy of the implementation plan to EPA.

The Roza-Sunnyside Board of Joint Control (RSBOJC) collected and analyzed water quality data, which they shared with Ecology and other outside agencies. Ecology used this data, as well as other data, to evaluate the progress of the best management practices (BMPs) being used in the watershed to improve the water quality. Improved manure management at cattle feedlots, dairies, and small farms helped to reduce the amount of fecal coliform bacteria found in the water by over 90 percent.

Technical information

Granger Drain Fecal Coliform Bacteria Total Maximum Daily Load Assessment and Evaluation - FINAL (Ecology Publication)

Granger Drain Fecal Coliform Bacteria Total Maximum Daily Load - Submittal Report (Ecology Publication)

Granger Drain Fecal Coliform Bacteria Total Maximum Daily Load: Detailed Implementation Plan (Ecology Publication)

Granger Drain Fecal Coliform Bacteria Total Maximum Daily Load: 2013 Adaptive Management Monitoring Report https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/publications/SummaryPages/1410036.html

Related information

Briefsheet - Water Cleanup Plans: Granger Drain Fecal Coliform TMDL (Ecology Publication)

WRIA 37: Lower Yakima Watershed Information (Water web site)


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Last updated June 2015
  Water resource inventory area (WRIA) 37 map, Washington State.


WRIA: #37 (Lower Yakima)
County: Yakima

Water-body Name:
Granger Drain

Fecal coliform bacteria

# of TMDLs: 2

TMDL approved
Has implementation plan

Contact Info:
Greg Bohn
Phone: 509-454-4174
Email: Greg.Bohn@ecy.wa.gov

Central Region
Department of Ecology
1250 West Alder Street
Union Gap, WA 98903-0009