water pollution

South Puget Sound
5:00 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Homeowners at Odds with Gov't Agencies over Dredging, Disposal

This map shows disposal sites around Puget Sound.
U.S. Army Corp of Engineers

Some residents in the Olympia area are concerned about dredged materials being disposed of in the Puget Sound. They say the Department of Natural Resources is failing to protect underwater ecology at the same time that state and federal governments are spending millions on cleanup.                

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Regulating Pollution
4:54 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Clean Water Suit Alleges State's Fish Consumption Rate Outdated

How much fish is safe to eat? That’s the key question in a federal lawsuit filed today

The plaintiffs are trying to force stricter limits on pollution in local waters. A coalition of groups including clean water advocates, tribes, and the commercial fishing industry have filed suit against the Environmental Protection Agency.

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Water pollution
8:02 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

EPA Put on Notice over Wash. State's Fish Consumption Rate

How much fish is safe to eat? Only one small filet per month under Washington's current water quality standard - a fraction of what's shown in this picture of a traditional NW meal of wild salmon on cedar planks.
woodleywonderworks photo Flickr

The official estimate of how much fish people eat dictates the levels of pollution that are allowed, and a statewide coalition of clean water advocates says an accurate standard is long overdue.

Waterkeepers Washington is threatening to sue the federal government over lack of enforcement.

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Environment
5:25 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

House Dems remove fish-consumption study from budget

jpellgen Flickr

Washington state House Democrats removed funds for a fish-consumption study from the final budget. That went against the wishes of one of the state's biggest business interests, Boeing.

The state Department of Ecology currently assumes that people in Washington eat about one meal of fish a month. But the state acknowledges the standard is out of date; many people eat a lot more fish than that.

Tribes and environmental groups have been urging the state to update its standard and require stricter regulation of water pollution. But that has been met with resistance from businesses, including Boeing.

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Water pollution
5:00 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Human fecal bacteria confirmed in Seattle’s Thornton Creek

Fecal coliform bacteria has been found at several locations in the Thornton Creek watershed. A new study confirms the source is in large part human sewage.
courtesy Seattle Public Utilities

Scientists with the city of Seattle are narrowing in on the source of polluted water that flows through the city’s largest watershed. With a new study, they’ve confirmed human fecal bacteria are likely entering Thornton Creek at multiple locations near Northgate and Lake City Way.

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toxins in fish
1:41 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

How much fish is healthy? Wash. tribes push for updated standard

jpellgen Flickr

How much fish should you eat? The state Department of Health recommends two meals of fish a week. But the Department of Ecology assumes people eat far less, about the equivalent of one meal per month.

That’s because it uses those assumptions to calculate how much water pollution can be legally allowed in Washington—pollution that ends up in the fish we eat.

Efforts to change that standard have stalled, and Washington's tribes, fed up, are calling on federal authorities to intervene.

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Environment
5:46 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Seattle Mayor aiming high on green infrastructure for stormwater

This bioswale in Seattle's Ravenna neighborhood manages about 80,000 gallons of stormwater annually. It was installed as part of a pedestrian improvement project and exemplifies how the city says it will reach its new ambitious goal.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

When you look around the streets of Seattle, you can expect to see less concrete and more greenery being put in over the next 12 years.

The City is planning to dramatically increase its use of green infrastructure to treat stormwater runoff.

Stormwater runoff is acknowledged as the single largest source of pollution in Puget Sound.

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Environment
7:40 am
Tue July 31, 2012

Rising rate of plastics ingested by birds off the coast of Washington

An example of non-food items and plastics found in the stomach of a Northern Fulmar collected off the coast of the Pacific Northwest.
Stephanie Avery-Gomm

A new study suggests there’s been a dramatic increase in plastic pollution off the coast of the Pacific Northwest over the past 40 years.

That’s after analysis of trash ingested by seabirds in Washington and British Columbia.

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Environment
10:41 am
Thu April 26, 2012

Mutant two-headed trout spur scrutiny of mine pollution

A study commissioned by the J.R. Simplot Company on selenium contamination in creeks in southeast Idaho includes photos of deformed Yellowstone cutthroat trout (top) and brown trout (bottom).
J.R. Simplot Idaho DEQ

SODA SPRINGS, Idaho - Here’s an image you usually don’t see without the help of Photoshop: two-headed fish. Pictures of deformed baby trout with two heads show up in a study of creeks in a remote part of southeast Idaho.

The study examined the effects of a contaminant called selenium. It comes from a nearby mine owned by the agribusiness giant, J.R. Simplot. Critics say the two-headed trout have implications beyond a couple of Idaho creeks.

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Environment
11:18 am
Mon March 19, 2012

Ban on cruise ship discharges proposed for Washington waters

Cruise ships such as the Norwegian Star are cabable of holding their sewage for the 24 hours or less that they typically berth in Seattle. The Department of Ecology and several non profits are asking for a ban on all discharges in Washington waters.
Photo by Drewski2112 Flickr

Cruise ships are big business for the Port of Seattle.

Last season, about 200 calls brought nearly 900,000 passengers and their wallets though the city. Projections for this season are about the same. Each call equates to about $1.9 million in local spending.

But that economic benefit comes with ecological risk.

Now the state’s Department of Ecology is backing a proposed ban on cruise ship discharges while the vessels are in Washington waters.

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Environment
2:04 pm
Fri June 3, 2011

Rainwater gardens preventing toxic runoff into Puget Sound

Anne Butler, Community Education Programs Coordinator with People for Puget Sound, shows off a "Rain Wise" garden in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood.She says the native plants and troughs that replaced a lawn here filter runoff naturally.
Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

The forecast is for sunny skies this weekend and some of the warmest temps we've seen all year. 

But when it rains a lot – as it has been lately – the runoff from city streets and houses pours toxins straight into Puget Sound. 

How homeowners can address that kind of water pollution is the subject of a series of neighborhood tours put on throughout the region this summer.  The first one is this weekend in Seattle.

 

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Water Quality
12:03 pm
Mon January 24, 2011

Marine “dead zones” detailed in interactive online map

This screen shot is from a new interactive online map that shows some of the nearly two dozen marine areas in Washington that experience low oxygen from nutrient pollution.
World Resources Institute

Growing populations and increasing pollution are contributing to more and more “dead zones” in bays and oceans around the world.

Now there’s an interactive online map pinpointing more than 760 spots across the globe—including 22 in Washington – that either are dead zones or are in danger of becoming one.

What’s a “dead zone?”

It happens when excess nutrients in the water help trigger an algae bloom. Mindy Selman explains that when all the algae die, they sink to the bottom.

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Puget Sound Pollution
7:27 am
Thu January 20, 2011

Stormwater runoff: A flood of crud

Heavy rains often wash curbside trash into storm drains and eventually into Puget Sound.
Liam Moriarty KPLU News

We’re still dealing with landslides and flooding from the heavy rains brought by last week’s Pineapple Express storms. But the downpour also washed a flood of gunk and junk off of the region’s streets, sidewalks and parking lots, into more than 4,500 storm drains and right into Puget Sound.

Storm drains usually empty underwater, so nobody sees the flood of crud that pours into rivers and bays across the region.

Well, almost no one ...

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