Features Archive

The home page on Ecology's website showcases a more in-depth look at the work we do on behalf of Washington's citizens. The following is a collection of these features.

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Washington state fines Volkswagen $176 million

posted: July 28, 2016
program: Air Quality

Ecology fined carmaker Volkswagen $176 million for installing illegal software on many of its diesel passenger vehicles to falsify emission tests. As a result, these diesel vehicles emitted up to 40 times the permitted levels of nitrogen oxides – a harmful air pollutant.

For more information, see:
> > Ecology has fined automaker Volkswagen $176 million for installing illegal software on many of its diesel vehicles to cheat and falsify emissions tests
> > Volkswagen enforcement action




Farmed Smart

posted: July 26, 2016
program: Water Quality

Over 40 farms representing 110,000 acres in Eastern Washington will be among the first Farmed Smart certified agriculture operations in the Northwest.

For more information, see:
> > Innovative agreement highlights practices that are good for farms and the environment
> > Farmed Smart Partnership



Odessa Groundwater Replacement Program

posted: July 13, 2016
program: Water Quality

Event marks 10-year milestone for Columbia River water program

Farmers, local dignitaries and water managers celebrated construction of the new Lind Coulee Siphon complex. It’s part of a 10-year effort to bring surface water to hundreds of deep-well irrigators now relying on a declining aquifer known as the Odessa Subarea. With the flip of a switch and raising of a gate, water from the Columbia River poured through newly built siphons to be delivered to farmers growing potatoes, corn, alfalfa, and seed crops in the rolling hills near this Eastern Washington town.

For more information, see:
> New siphons deliver needed water to Odessa farmers
> Odessa Groundwater Replacement Program



Clean Water Permit

photo of Ecology employee working with dairy farm workers

posted: June 20, 2016
program: Water Quality

Comment on clean water permit for CAFOs - Public hearings in July

The Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) General Permit conditionally authorizes discharges to waters of the state from operations that confine and feed animals such as dairy and beef cows, poultry, horses, and pigs in concentrated areas. Those covered by the permit are required to manage the manure, litter, and process wastewater generated by the operation to protect water quality.

For more information, see:
> Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) Permit
> Frequently Asked Questions about CAFO
> Comment on clean water permit for farms



Spills Response

Oregon Train Derailment

posted: June 3, 2016
program: Spills Program

Responding to Oregon oil train wreck

Ecology responded to a train derailment in Mosier, Oregon. Ecology launched an overflight from Olympia to determine if oil had entering the Columbia River and also activated a crisis management team to support responders in the field and provide support to the response in Oregon if needed.

For more information, see:
> Oregon derailment incident page
> View the photos in Flickr



Environmental Review

photo of the Draft EIS report for the proposed Millennium coal transport terminal

posted: May 18, 2016
program: Shorelands & Environmental Assistance

Millennium Bulk Terminals — Longview NEPA and SEPA Environmental Impact Statements

Cowlitz County and the Washington State Department of Ecology are co-lead agencies preparing an EIS under the State Environmental Policy Act.

On April 29, 2016 Cowlitz County and the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) released a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Millennium Bulk Terminals – Longview coal export terminal. The public and agencies are invited to review the document, provide comments, and attend a public hearing/open house.

For more information, see:
> More about the Millennium Bulk Terminals proposal
> View the draft environmental impact statement (EIS)
> Attend a public hearing, comment on the draft EIS
> Learn about the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA)



Eyes Under Puget Sound

posted: May 4, 2016
program: Environmental Assessment

Critter of the Month - The Sand Star

If you’ve ever been to an aquarium or explored a tide pool, then this Critter of the Month is no stranger to you! Luidia foliolata, also known as the Sand Star, is one of many sea star species commonly found in Puget Sound. L. foliolata is dull in color but makes up for its drabness in other exciting ways. It is one of the fastest sea stars in the world, traveling at speeds of over nine feet per minute!

For more information, see:
> Eyes Under Puget Sound: Critter of the Month (blog stories)
> Eyes Under Puget Sound photo collection (Flickr)
> May is Puget Sound Starts Here Month
> Marine Sediment Monitoring



Happy Earth Day

posted: April 15, 2016
program: Communications

Earth Day 2016: Water testing with kids in the Chehalis Basin

Every year, students from schools around Southwest Washington take part in a program every school year where they test water quality around the Chehalis Basin watershed. The program concludes at the Chehalis Basin Student Congress, where the kids gather to share their findings and learn from scientists and other volunteers about the environment.

For more information, see:
> Earth: Pass it on (blog stories)
> What you can do...in our spring Enviro-tips
> Ecology's Earth Day website



Fish Consumption Rates

posted: April 5, 2016
program: Water Quality

Public hearings on state-led fish consumption rule: Seattle April 5, Spokane April 6, Webinars April 7

We have released a new draft rule that updates surface water quality standards to include human health criteria and updated tools to implement the standards.

We're holding four public hearings on this rule proposal: two in person and two via webinar. All hearings will begin with a short presentation, including a question and answer session, with testimony immediately following the presentation. The public comment period is February 1 - April 22, 2016.

For more information, see:
> Find out more about the rulemaking
> Public hearings and open comment period



Children's Safe Products Act

Photos of 3 necklaces that tested high for lead and cadmium content. Caption: Pretty? Toxic?

posted: March 17, 2016
program:Hazardous Waste & Toxics Reduction

Toxic chemicals violate standards for children's products

Testing by Ecology revealed high levels of the heavy metals cadmium and lead in several necklaces sold as accessories packaged with girls' dresses. Both cadmium and lead accumulate in bone and soft tissues in the body, remain in the body for a very long time and can cause serious health effects, especially in children. Cadmium can lead to cardiovascular, skeletal and kidney damage. Lead affects child brain development, and damages the cardiovascular, immune and reproductive systems. Both of these metals are toxic at very low doses.

For more information, see:
> High levels of cadmium and lead found in children's jewelry accessories
> Testing consumer products
> Children's Safe Products Act
> Reducing toxic threats



Clean Air Rule Update

posted: February 26, 2016
program: Air Quality

Updating efforts to cap and reduce carbon pollution

Ecology plans to update the draft Clean Air Rule it proposed in January after engaging with stakeholders and gathering feedback. The proposed draft rule in an effort to cap and reduce carbon pollution in Washington state. The rule would help slow climate change and limit the projected effects on coastal communities, agricultural industries, and drinking water supplies.

For more information, see:
> Ecology to incorporate feedback into new draft rule
> Share feedback about the Clean Air Rule
> Limiting carbon pollution through the WA Clean Air Rule
> Climate Change in Washington



Smoke pollution

posted: January 26, 2016
program: Air Quality

Building better fires to reduce pollution

It's important to burn properly or you create excess air pollution. Our atmospheric scientist and toxicologist share the science and health impacts from wood-smoke pollution.

For more information, see:
> How to operate your wood stove more efficiently (video)
> Washington ranks high for wood stove pollution (blog)
> Why we have burn bans (blog)



Clean Air Rule

60 percent of Washington's emissions will be covered by the Clean Air Rule

posted: Jan. 6, 2016
program: Air Quality

Ecology has released a draft of the Clean Air Rule to limit carbon pollution

A proposed rule would set Washington's first-ever limits on carbon pollution, acting to help slow climate change and limit projected effects on our state’s coastal communities, agricultural industries and drinking water supplies.

For more information, see:
> Ecology releases draft rule to cap carbon pollution
> Media briefing video
> Clean Air Rule hub
> Tell us what you think about the rule