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UNAUTHORIZED USE OF LAKES, STREAMS FOR YARDS COULD HARM FISH, WATER, WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY SAYS

UNAUTHORIZED USE OF LAKES, STREAMS FOR YARDS COULD HARM FISH, WATER,
 WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY SAYS
 BELLEVUE, Wash., May 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Unauthorized use of lakes and streams by shoreline property owners to water lawns and gardens could harm fall salmon runs and cause water pollution, the Washington State Department of Ecology said today. More than 200 people have called Ecology's Bellevue office in the past two weeks to ask if they can take water from lakes and streams or drill wells for outdoor watering.
 Most callers respond positively when they learn their planned withdrawal could cause problems and may be illegal, according to Ecology Northwest Region Water Resources Supervisor Jim Bucknell.
 "People are willing to do their part when they realize the lakes and streams in King County are already running on a tight margin. In Lake Union, for example, low water levels could upset the balance between fresh water and salt water in the lake and cause sewage disposal problems for houseboats. Operations at the Ballard Locks could be further restricted. And there may not be enough water for fall salmon runs," said Bucknell.
 State law requires permits for all surface water withdrawals. Permits to withdraw water from Lakes Washington and Sammamish and virtually all of their tributaries have not been issued since 1979, when these waters were closed to new withdrawals. The waters were closed to protect fish and wildlife and manage lake levels for existing uses. Any surface water withdrawals begun after 1979 are illegal.
 Permits aren't required to drill wells using less than 5,000 gallons per day to water up to one-half acre. However, wells near shorelines may be hydrologically connected to a nearby surface water. Under state law, wells connected to a closed lake or stream are subject to the same restrictions as the surface water. This means withdrawals for outdoor watering from wells drilled after 1979 are prohibited.
 "We're asking people to voluntarily not use unauthorized wells or take surface water without a permit. We're glad to help people figure out whether their existing use or a planned withdrawal is authorized," said Bucknell.
 -0- 5/19/92
 /CONTACT: Brad Petrovich, 206-649-7038, or Jim Bucknell, 206-649-7066, both of the Washington State Department of Ecology/ CO: Washington State Department of Ecology ST: Washington IN: SU:


JH-LM -- SE010 -- 1910 05/19/92 14:16 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 19, 1992
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