Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Stories about Getting to Clean Water: Kittitas County Fairgrounds – Pollution Abated

By Diane Dent, Water Quality Stories Lead, Water Quality Program

The “before” photo: manure-laden wash-water draining into Wilson Creek. Photo credit: Terry Wittmeier


Have you ever seen the cute 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA) kids at the annual county fair,proudly showing off their well-groomed livestock? Ever wonder what they do to keep their animals so clean while at the fair? Unfortunately, at the Kittitas County Fairgrounds animal wash stations were draining directly into nearby Wilson Creek. But thanks to good work by staff from the city of Ellensburg’s stormwater utility and the Kittitas County Fairgrounds, the problem has been solved.


For many decades, storm drains have collected runoff water from the fairgrounds and discharged the untreated water to Wilson Creek. During the annual county fair and other livestock-related events, the livestock wash stations at the fairgrounds also discharged to these drains, causing stream pollution.This conflicts with the Wilson Creek Sub-basin Bacteria Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), the city’s Eastern Washington Phase II municipal stormwater permit, and its municipal stormwater permit. Adding to the challenge was the fact that Kittitas County owns and manages these fairgrounds, even though the fairgrounds are within Ellensburg’s city limits and discharge to the city’s municipal stormwater system.

To find out how Kittitas County and the city of Ellensberg resolved this dilemma,read the full story online.

Story written by Elaine Snouwaert Ecology Eastern Regional Office

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