Department of Ecology News Release - June 8, 2015

Everett concrete plant fined for water quality violations
Muddy water flowed through city drains to Pigeon Creek Number Two

EVERETT – CEMEX Construction Materials Pacific LLC faces a $21,000 penalty from the Washington Department of Ecology for allowing concrete wash water and muddy water to flow off its property into Everett’s stormwater system.

Street drains outside the company’s property at 6300 Glenwood Ave. empty into a tributary of Pigeon Creek Number Two, which flows into Puget Sound. CEMEX operates a sand and gravel pit and a concrete mixing plant at the site.

“This case involved repeated and preventable violations,” said Kevin Fitzpatrick, Ecology’s regional water quality section manager. “It’s important for CEMEX to fix these problems because the street drains flow directly to the creek and Puget Sound.”

The penalty cites CEMEX for two series of violations:

Concrete wash water discharge: The company allowed the release of about 1,000 gallons of water from a concrete washout pond to the sidewalk, roadway and storm drains on Glenwood Avenue on Feb. 25, 2015. CEMEX stopped the discharge and cleaned concrete slurry from the road and storm drain pipes under a city of Everett emergency order.

Concrete wash water is caustic and can harm fish and other aquatic life. Ecology fined CEMEX $6,000 for a similar violation in 2013.

Muddy water discharges: Ecology and Everett inspectors observed muddy water flowing from the CEMEX property onto the street in November 2014 and March 2015. The company used a spray truck to wash dirt tracked by trucks onto Glenwood Avenue into storm drains over four days in February 2015. In another incident, muddy water entered the city stormwater system through a previously sealed storm drain on CEMEX property.

Water in the tributary at the storm drain outfall contained more than 16 times the allowable muddy content during these incidents. Muddy water can damage the delicate breathing membranes on fish and other aquatic animals.

CEMEX has reported to Ecology that it has repaired and re-sealed the drain opening.

 “CEMEX is mindful of the unique ecosystems of Pigeon Creek and Puget Sound and diligently works to ensure we operate in a responsible and environmentally-conscious manner.  Unfortunately, during our efforts to keep our trucks and the nearby community streets clean, some of the water inadvertently flowed where we did not intend for it to do so. CEMEX has been making improvements to our drainage systems to ensure that these issues do not reoccur,” said Sara Engdahl, Director of Communications, CEMEX USA.   

CEMEX may appeal the penalty to the Washington State Pollution Control Hearings Board.

Contact:

Larry Altose, Ecology communications, 425-649-7009, @EcySeattle

Cynthia Walcker, Ecology stormwater inspector, 425-649-7276

Sara Engdahl, CEMEX USA communications, 713-722-1799