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Toxic Chemicals in Puget Sound photo identifier

Toxic Chemicals in Puget Sound

Studies Overview

The Washington Department of Ecology worked in collaboration with the Puget Sound Partnership and other state and federal agencies to deliver three phases of scientific data about toxic chemicals in Puget Sound. The goal of the science was to inform decisions about actions to restore Puget Sound and how to most effectively direct resources to resolve toxic contamination issues in the Sound. For example, the studies help identify which sources or pathways of toxic chemicals should receive priority attention and which areas of contamination should be cleaned up first.

Phases of the Study

Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Puget Sound toxic loading studies have informed policy options for the state’s Action Agenda to reduce and control releases of toxic chemicals.

Phase 3 supported implementation of the actions that the Puget Sound Partnership identified in the Action Agenda, such as improved wastewater permitting.

Contamination Pathways

 The nine main pathways to Puget Sound targeted by these studies were:

  • Surface runoff
  • Atmospheric deposition
  • Wastewater discharges
  • Combined sewer overflows
  • Spills directly to surface water
  • Groundwater discharge
  • Exchange with the ocean
  • Contaminated marine sediments
  • Migration of contaminated biota

For additional information, see: