Department of Ecology News Release - October 24, 2007
BELLEVUE - Sound Transit will provide $120,000 for environmental restoration work along the Duwamish River to settle two previous Department of Ecology (Ecology) penalties for water pollution violations on the Sound Link light-rail construction project.
People For Puget Sound - a non-profit organization - will carry out seven already-planned projects that had not been funded. The work will be completed in the next 18 months.
Sound Transit will pay the settlement and seek repayment from the contractor involved with the violations - PCL Construction Services (PCL).
"This settlement allows restoration work to begin right away in the waters affected by these violations," said Dave Peeler, who manages Ecology's Water Quality Program. "Sound Transit and PCL have shown a serious commitment to improve their environmental practices. These projects will provide long-term benefits to the Duwamish watershed."
Ecology issued the penalties a year ago to Sound Transit and last May to the transit agency and contractor for violating the project's construction stormwater permit in the Tukwila area, which flows to the Duwamish River. Together the penalties totaled $145,000.
"Sound Transit takes its commitment to protecting the environment during construction seriously. We work closely with our contractors to make sure their practices meet all environmental regulations," said Link light rail director Ahmad Fazel. "We thank the Department of Ecology for its work with the agency to ensure the fines from these unfortunate past violations will go directly back to the area where our project is being built."
"These seven projects will directly help the health of the Duwamish, its fish, its wildlife, its people," said People For Puget Sound Executive Director Kathy Fletcher. "While it's unfortunate that the completion of these projects is the result of penalties for water quality violations, it's this level of restoration effort that has to be undertaken throughout Puget Sound if we are to reach the goal of restoring Puget Sound by the year 2020."
Riverton Creek Flapgate Removal and Restoration: Remove twin flapgates on Riverton creek in partnership with the City of Tukwila to provide an open water connection to the Duwamish River and provide fish passage for juvenile salmon and steelhead. Restore habitat along the creek to provide shading and biotic diversity to the system. Project Action: Develop project design, initiate permitting, prepare planting plans for riparian area. Cost: $35,000
Codiga Farms: This site, in a Tukwila city park, is adjacent to a recently created side channel spawning area for salmon and steelhead. Remove invasive species and install native vegetation to reduce infestations entering the new restoration site, and provide connection to the riparian area along the river. Project Action: Develop adaptive management plans, extend outreach to the community, remove invasive blackberry, mulch, install plantings as needed. Cost: $7,000
North Winds Weir: This site was developed as a side channel resting area along the Duwamish River in 2000. The project design has not been adequately assessed for success, and problems with high temperatures and fish mortality have been reported. The project will assess productivity, and increase shading and biodiversity around the side channel. Project Action: Remove invasive plants, install new plantings, and monitor temperature and fish stress to make recommendations for action as necessary. Cost: $10,000
Expansion of T-105: This site was created in 2000, and has been stewarded by People for Puget Sound. Expand the site to include invasive removal and planting along an additional 100 feet of shoreline. Project Action: Remove invasive plants, mulch, and install new native plants. Cost: $5,000
Longfellow Creek Outlet: Improve an existing restoration site that is in early stages of development. The site is at the outlet of Longfellow Creek where it enters a pipe that connects the stream to the Duwamish River. The project supports local restoration efforts which have resulted in the return of a small salmonid population in this highly urbanized watershed. Project Action: Install native plants, mulch, and steward site. Cost: $3,000
Duwamish River Revival: This project is in the South Park neighborhood developed in partnership with ECOSS (Environmental Coalition of South Seattle) on the property of two private homes and a Seattle street end. It would restore Duwamish River shoreline by implementing a stormwater and habitat improvement project. Project Action: Increase community outreach, and develop conceptual designs and achievable phasing plans. Cost: $40,000
Riverside Street End: This project is a City of Seattle restoration of a street end along the Duwamish in South Park. The site is adjacent to a Port of Seattle habitat project at 8th Ave. S. Project Action: Work with the city to develop a design to regrade shoreline and install native vegetation, and do early community outreach, signage and site preparations. Cost: $20,000
Contingency project, if one or more of the other projects cannot be completed: Tire revetment removal: This project is along the Duwamish River in Cecil B. Moses Park, adjacent to the proposed North Winds Weir site. Remove tires placed to shore up a stretch of river bank and replace with a more suitable shoreline stabilization method. Project Action: Collect existing information on the site, and complete designs for removal and replacement of the revetment.
The Washington State Pollution Control Hearings Board - to which Sound Transit and PCL appealed the penalties - has approved the negotiated settlement.
Larry Altose, Ecology public information, 425-649-7009
Bruce Gray, Sound Transit public information, 206-786-1696
Robin Clark, People for Puget Sound Habitat Restoration Program Manager, 206-382-7007
Original penalties news releases: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/news/2006news/2006-219.html
Background on Construction Stormwater General Permit http://www.ecy.wa.gov/pubs/0710044.pdf
Copyright © Washington State Department of Ecology. See http://www.ecy.wa.gov/copyright.html.