Department of Ecology News Release - August 31, 2009

09-216

Salmon Bay Sand & Gravel fined $12,000 for clean water violations

BELLEVUE – The Department of Ecology (Ecology) has fined Salmon Bay Sand & Gravel Co., Inc. (Salmon Bay) $12,000 for violations of its water quality permit and the state clean water act at its Ballard waterfront facility in Seattle.

The violations include ongoing spills of aggregate – a sand and gravel mixture – from shore-side bunkers at 5231 Shilshole Avenue NW into the Lake Washington Ship Canal. State law outlaws the discharge of foreign material to state waters. Sand and gravel discharges can release fine silt into the water, which damages habitat and can clog and injure gills, the breathing organs of fish.

The company made no response to repeated attempts by Ecology to discuss water-quality problems observed by state inspectors at the site in 2008. Salmon Bay also failed to answer a Notice of Violation – a formal notification requiring a response within 30 days – issued by Ecology in February.

“This case escalated into a penalty because Salmon Bay did not respond,” said Kevin Fitzpatrick, Ecology’s regional water-quality supervisor. “Most of the violations themselves require fairly straightforward corrections.”

Other violations include lack of a spill-response plan for the facility and having no record of required twice-yearly stormwater inspections.

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

Ecology inspections of industrial facilities support the department’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.

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

Kevin Fitzpatrick, regional supervisor, Ecology water quality program, 425-649-7033