The Salish Sea is a unique and spectacular place. Consisting of a network of coastal waterways between British Columbia and Washington State, the Salish Sea includes the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Strait of Georgia, and Puget Sound (Figure 1). It offers beautiful scenery, a multitude of opportunities for recreation, and wonderful fish, shellfish, and wildlife.
Whether you live directly along the shoreline or further inland—if you love and want to protect the wildlife, waters, and way of life the area offers—this publication is for you! Your actions can go a long way toward helping to protect and preserve our way of life here.
We hope that your commitment to preserving this landscape for future generations will include following the Shore Steward guidelines set forth in this manual. Additional resources can be found on the Shore Steward website.
Guideline 1: Taking Care of Waste from People, Pets, Livestock, and Products
Disposing of waste is an everyday occurrence. Waste comes from dogs, cows, horses, and people. Harmful pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites from failing septic systems and animal waste can pollute water. Other waste such as medicines and household chemicals flushed down the drain may also make its way to groundwater or waterways. In this section, you will learn the best ways to keep harmful waste out of our waterways. Doing so can save you money and keep you and your family safe from illness.
Sewers and On-Site Septic Systems
The Differences Between Septic and Sewer
Everyone uses running water and flush toilets in their home or workplace. The water running down the drain and toilet goes to either a private or community septic system or a public sewer system. If you have a septic system, you have a personal responsibility to maintain it and protect your investment (Figure 2). If you are on sewer, you pay a monthly bill, and someone else manages a treatment plant for your community. No matter how human waste is handled, there are steps you can take to protect your personal investment, or the investment your community has made in a treatment plant.