Department of Ecology News Release - July 21, 2009

09-174

Duwamish-area firm fined for industrial stormwater permit violations

BELLEVUE – The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) has fined Fog Tite Inc. $18,000 for illegally discharging industrial wastewater into a storm drain and for failing to properly monitor discharges of industrial stormwater into city storm drains.

Seattle storm drains serving the manufacturer of concrete meter boxes and catch basins – located at 4819 West Marginal Way S.W. – flow to the Duwamish Waterway.

Fog Tite connected drain lines to a city storm drain outside the facility without permits or approvals several years ago. The company discharges caustic water and sediment from its production process areas and its outdoor work yard into the drain line.

“Ignoring the city’s permit process inevitably resulted in Fog Tite connecting its drain line to the storm drain instead of the sewer,” said Kevin Fitzpatrick, Ecology’s regional water-quality supervisor. “They’ve been discharging poorly-treated industrial stormwater and process wastewater directly to the Duwamish for years. An industrial facility in this day and age has a duty to know where its industrial discharges are going.”

Businesses can arrange to discharge industrial wastewater into the sanitary sewer but must have authorization from King County to do so, and may need to provide pre-treatment. Fog Tite has begun applying to the city and county for a legal sewer connection for its process wastewater and contaminated stormwater.

Fog Tite also failed to submit quarterly monitoring reports to Ecology on stormwater discharges, as required by the state industrial stormwater general permit.

“The self-reporting permit system reduces costs for companies and for the state,” Fitzpatrick explained, “and permitted facilities must do the required monitoring and reporting. Truthful and accurate self-reporting is fundamental in keeping our waterways clean and safe.”

Inspectors from Ecology and the city of Seattle uncovered the drain line violation earlier this year.

Ecology had first visited Fog Tite in March 2009 as part of a Duwamish Urban Waters Initiative program to visit businesses that are likely pollution sources to storm drains or sanitary sewers, lack environmental permits, or are potential generators of hazardous waste. A technical specialist helps each company identify whether it needs permits or can make voluntary improvements to its environmental practices.

Ecology and the city of Seattle made a follow-up inspection in May. A city dye test showed that all of Fog Tite’s production area and outdoor drains went to the city storm-drain system, and not the sanitary sewer as the company had claimed.

Fog Tite may seek an Ecology review of the penalty or file an appeal with the Washington State Pollution Control Hearings Board within 30 days.

The Urban Waters Initiative is a cooperative program aimed at controlling sources of pollution to the Duwamish Waterway. The 2007 Legislature established the Initiative, which also operates along Tacoma’s Commencement Bay and the Spokane River in Spokane.

The Initiative supports Ecology’s work as a co-manager with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of the Lower Duwamish Waterway cleanup site, a 5.5-mile stretch of the Duwamish upstream from Harbor Island. The Initiative also aids in Ecology’s priorities of reducing toxic threats and supporting the Puget Sound Initiative, a comprehensive effort by local, tribal, state and federal governments, business, agricultural and environmental interests, scientists, and the public to restore and protect the Sound.

###

Media Contacts: Larry Altose, Ecology media relations, 425-649-7009

Duwamish Urban Waters Initiative: www.ecy.wa.gov/pubs/0809062.pdf