While the City of Bellingham produces some of the cleanest drinking water in the nation, the water quality of Lake Whatcom has started to decrease in recent decades due to a number of water quality challenges.
Drinking Water Quality
Despite lake water quality challenges, the City is committed to supplying some of the safest drinking water in the country.
Water Quality Reports
- 2021 Drinking Water Quality Report (PDF May 2022)
- 2020 Drinking Water Quality Report (PDF May 2021)
- 2019 Drinking Water Quality Report (PDF May 2020)
- 2018 Drinking Water Quality Report (PDF April 2019)
- 2017 Drinking Water Quality Report (PDF May 2018)
Water Quality Reports from previous years are available upon request. Please contact the Water Quality Specialists at the City’s Lab at (360) 778-7870 for more information.
- Drinking Water Quality Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)
- Drinking Water Quality Monitoring
- Source Water and Treatment Trends (PDF 2005)
- Water Treatment Process
Lake Water Quality
The City works closely with the Western Washington University Institute for Watershed Studies (IWS) to monitor water quality trends in Lake Whatcom. Currently the lake is sampled in five locations with 12 tributaries monitored throughout the year. IWS provides detailed annual reports (PDF).
- Western Washington University’s Institute for Watershed Studies website
- City Council Briefing June 6, 2011 (PDF)
Improving Lake Water Quality
In 1998, the Washington Department of Ecology (ECY) placed Lake Whatcom on Washington’s 303(d) list for polluted water bodies because it failed to meet state water quality standards for dissolved oxygen and phosphorus. Ecology, City and County staff work together to develop a watershed management strategy that will enable Lake Whatcom to safely meet state water quality standards in the future.
- Lake Whatcom Water Quality Improvement Project (TMDL) (Department of Ecology website)
- TMDL Study Findings (Department of Ecology publication) (PDF)
- Focus on Lake Whatcom TMDL Fact Sheet (Department of Ecology publication) (PDF)