Four Area Communities Receive Grants To Combat Toxic Runoff

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The Washington State Department of Ecology awarded grants of $50,000 each to four South King County communities that will help them comply with federal regulations regarding toxic runoff from streets and other surfaces.

The grant money will be applied toward anything from equipment purchases and storm drain cleaning to public education and outreach.

Recipient cities include:

  • Des Moines
  • Kent
  • Normandy Park
  • SeaTac

Rep. Dave Upthegrove (D – Des Moines), who chairs the state House Ecology and Parks Committee, says the timing of the awards couldn’t be better.

Rep. Dave Upthegrove

“Toxic runoff is one of the major causes of pollution to Puget Sound,” Upthegrove said.  “Research clearly shows it is a threat both to drinking water and marine life.  These grants will help communities that are already operating on lean budgets still meet federal requirements to address this very serious environmental health issue.”

About 14 million pounds of toxic pollutants – including petroleum, pesticides, and heavy metals – enter Puget Sound each year.  This constant influx of hazardous substances kills fish, closes beaches to swimming, and threatens drinking water supplies.  It imperils the region’s economy, not only because of the state’s reliance on water resources, but because cash-strapped municipalities lack sufficient funding to pay for cleanup efforts.

All four cities plan to use part of the grant money for detection of pollutants within their stormwater systems.  By pinpointing the source sites where pollutants enter these systems, they can take the necessary steps to address the problem.  Public education efforts will also be undertaken, to help teach people how they can help prevent toxic runoff from their homes and businesses.

“The clock is ticking for us to save Puget Sound, and how cities deal with toxic runoff is going to determine whether or not we’ll be successful,” Upthegrove said.  “This extra boost in state funds will help these communities move forward with pollution prevention efforts.”

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