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Toxic Chemicals in Puget Sound photo identifier

Toxic Chemicals in Puget Sound

Site of the old ferry dock, Titlow Beach in Pierce County. Photo courtesty of Bob Newton, flickr.com/photos/newtsphotos

Puget Sound Toxics Assessment

In our state’s effort to restore and recover Puget Sound, the Washington State Department of Ecology, Puget Sound Partnership, and other organizations launched a multi-year, multi-agency effort called the Control of Toxic Chemicals in Puget Sound.

Synthesizing four years of work

The Assessment of Selected Toxic Chemicals in the Puget Sound Basin: 2007—2011 is the most recent look at what’s known about toxic chemical pollution in the Puget Sound region. The assessment incorporates new and more complete data about sources, loading, pathways, and hazards. The report describes:

  • The 17 toxic chemicals and chemical groups which were selected for evaluation based on observed harm or threat of harm to the Puget Sound ecosystem.
  • The harmful effects of these toxic chemicals on the environmental health of Puget Sound.
  • The sources where these toxic chemicals come from, such as roofing materials, pesticide use, and drips and leaks from vehicles.
  • The “pathways” that toxic chemicals travel to reach Puget Sound, such as surface water runoff, air deposition, and wastewater treatment plant discharges .
  • The quantity – or “loading” – of each chemical that enters Puget Sound.
  • Priorities for actions to reduce and control pollution from the key sources.

Learn more by following the links on this page, reading the report, or its executive summary (pdf).

FEATURE: NEW! 11/03/11

Assessment of Selected Toxic Chemicals in the Puget Sound Basin


Assessment of Selected Toxic Chemicals in the Puget Sound Basin


Focus on Puget Sound: Puget Sound Toxics Assessment


Toxic Chemicals in Puget Sound Study (2007-2011)
Three phases of scientific data about toxic chemicals in Puget Sound

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

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Toxic chemicals enter the Puget Sound basin from many scattered and hard-to-control sources. Once released, toxic chemicals can affect the environment and human health.

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The assessment found that polluted surface water runoff, especially during storm events, is the most common pathway toxic chemicals take to reach Puget Sound.

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Sources range from chemical leaching of roofing materials to motor oil drips and leaks from our cars and trucks. Many products we use every day — such as detergents, plastics, and pesticides — add to the toxic chemicals reaching our waters.

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Everyone can take actions to reduce toxic threats in Puget Sound: avoid using toxic chemicals, reduce toxic releases and clean up existing contamination.

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