Stormwater scorecard rates Puget Sound polluters - Storm Water Jobs


Stormwater scorecard rates Puget Sound polluters

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PUGET SOUND -- Stormwater run-off is the number one toxic pollutant in Puget Sound and a scorecard released by Puget Soundkeeper Alliance shows just how well, or poorly, cities and counties are doing at reducing stormwater pollution through low impact development. Stormwater runoff is the number one toxic pollutant in Puget Sound, and a scorecard released by Puget Soundkeeper Alliance in a joint venture with the Washington Environmental Council shows just how well, or poorly, cities and counties are doing at reducing stormwater pollution through low impact development. "The regulations for changing the way we develop land were first published five years ago," said Puget Soundkeeper Alliance Executive Director Chris Wilke. "This is a transparent assessment of the entire region and how we're doing." Stormwater is a chemical soup that causes coho salmon to suffocate and die. It is filled with toxins that build up in orca blubber and poison the whales when it's metabolized. The scorecard judges 81 municipalities by five categories of low impact development. Fifteen-percent totally failed. Thirty-eight percent made minimal improvements. Forty-seven percent either brought their codes up to standards required by the Clean Water Act or went beyond requirements. SOFTENING OUR FOOTPRINT: As we increase the amount of hard, waterproof surfaces, we create more stormwater. We need to rethink our community footprint. This doesn't have to mean we lose comfort and enjoyment of our spaces, but we do need to use more landscaping, narrower walkways, and taller buildings. BUILDING WITH CARE: Protecting our lands' native plants and soils helps water move more slowly by allowing the rain to soak into the earth instead of rushing across the surface and collecting a heavy load of pollution. By building around native plants and caring for the underlying structure of a site, development will be more flood-resistant and support healthy communities in the long term. IMPROVING FILTRATION: Permeable pavement supports vehicles yet allows rainwater to pass through the paved surface into the soil below and reduces how much stormwater we create. Permeable pavements can be used in sidewalks, road shoulders, parking lanes, and other parking areas that do not receive heavy traffic where traditional pavements are needed. Innovative materials are being developed right here in Washington – so we have the local technology to transform our landscape's surfaces.

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