A shoreline survey of on-site systems in the Tillamook Bay Watershed, Tillamook County, Oregon Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/sf268762j

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  • Tillamook Bay is used for recreational activities such as swimming and diving, as well as recreational clam harvesting. The bay is also used for one of Tillamook's most prominent industries, oyster harvesting. Bacterial contamination of Tillamook Bay has been a recognized problem since 1962. There are a number of known sources of bacterial contamination in Tillamook Bay including municipal wastewater treatment facilities, cattle and other livestock, and on-site systems. In order to comply with federal regulations and because of the serious consequences that contamination poses to the Tillamook economy, the Tillamook County Environmental Health Department conducted a shoreline survey of on-site systems in the Tillamook Bay Watershed. The purpose of this study was to determine the failure rate of on-site systems in a selected area of Tillamook County, Oregon. This shoreline survey was conducted in accordance with the minimum requirements for performing shoreline surveys in shellfish growing areas, as set forth in Appendix B of the National Shellfish Sanitation Program Manual of Operations, 1995 edition. A total of 385 on-site systems were surveyed. This study used three sets of data to develop the on-site system profile of the area: (1) information gathered from the Tillamook County Community Development department files; (2) date acquired during a survey with on-site system homeowners; and (3) on-site inspection of the system. None of the on-site systems appeared to be failing, but the rates of marginal systems ranged from 1.7/100 to 6.4/100. The failure rate was lower than the expected rate of 6% to 7%; this is most likely due to the fact that the survey was conducted during the dry season when indicators of failing on-site systems are not apparent. Another possible explanation for the lack of failing on-site systems is that forty-nine systems were not surveyed because the owners chose to not participate in the survey. Recommendations for future surveys include using dye tracing to identify failing systems, surveying during the winter when failing systems are evident, knowing soil types before surveying, using questionnaires to elicit information from homeowners, and public education about on-site systems and their maintenance requirements.
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