Environmental Health
Scatter Creek Aquifer SEptic Management Project
  Scatter Creek Aquifer - Septic System Management Project  

Project Summary

The goal of the project is to make sure water in the Scatter Creek Aquifer is safe to drink now and in the future. The three-year project will include groundwater monitoring, scientific modeling, and community input. A citizen advisory committee will evaluate scientific data and modeling to determine potential impacts on the aquifer and make recommendations to the Thurston County Board of Health and Board of County Commissioners. Funding for this project is provided by the Washington State Department of Ecology.


Click to see maps of Scatter Creek Aquifer Area

Residents living in the Scatter Creek Aquifer Area (click on the map for a larger view of the area) rely on groundwater for their drinking water. Water in this aquifer is highly vulnerable to contamination because the sandy, gravelly soils do not effectively filter out contamination. Unlike other areas, there is not another deeper aquifer below the Scatter Creek Aquifer; it is a sole-source aquifer.

Test results from private and community wells show nitrates and coliform bacteria are getting into the water. Currently, most wells tested in the area meet drinking water standards. At levels above drinking water standards, these contaminants can cause illness. We are concerned because nitrate levels in this area are some of the highest in Thurston County, with some wells exceeding drinking water standards.

For Past Studies and Reports click here.

Key Activities:

Citizen Advisory Committee (clickable link)

Committee members were appointed to the committee by the Board of Health and must live, own property, or work in the Scatter Creek Aquifer Area. The committee typically meets on the first Wednesday of the month at the Rochester School District Board Room. They learn about the area and risks posed to the drinking water by septic systems, help determine if levels of contamination are likely to cause public health concern, and develop recommendations for an action plan to ensure water in the Scatter Creek Aquifer is safe to drink now and in the future.

Your Input Is Needed ! Please Consider Getting Involved

We want to hear from you! After all, as residents or property owners in the Scatter Creek Aquifer Area, you are the people who drink the water and are affected by the issues. We want to know what you think, what we may be missing, and solutions that we may not have thought of.

Please consider getting involved:

  • Send us an e-mail or sign-up for updates.
  • Attend community workshops.
  • Observe Citizen Advisory Committee meetings.
  • Provide feedback or suggestions through our website, at listening posts at community workshops, or by phone (call 360-867-2582).
  • See the results of the survey mailed to residents and property owners in the aquifer area in July 2013.
  • Read periodic newsletters and updates.
  • Visit the project website regularly.

Read comments about the project and get answers to Frequently Asked Questions.


STudies & Links
  • Gerald Tousley
    Project Manager
  • Jane Mountjoy-Venning
    Community Liaison
  • Send an e-mail or sign-up for updates here.
This page last updated: 08/05/14