SEATTLE — Every time it rains, pollutants like pesticides, gasoline, heavy metals – all the remnants from our daily activities – are rinsed off the landscape.
Paved surfaces provide the perfect conveyor belts to funnel those pollutants into nearby waterways.
Local municipalities are charged with figuring out how to limit or prevent that from happening.
Ted Sturdevant, head of the Washington State Department of Ecology, says dealing with stormwater runoff comes down to a simple question:
“Can millions of people live in a rainy climate on rivers, bays and Puget Sound without killing them? I think the answer has to be yes. These stormwater permits aren’t the entire answer but these take a big step forward down that path.”
Washington state’s new permits promote low-impact development and installing things like rain gardens to absorb runoff.
Here are some other things they do:
The state Department of Ecology has set aside $5 million to train local governments and contractors on how to implement the new requirements over the next five years.
The requirements will be in use by June 2015 in Seattle, Tacoma as well as King, Snohomish, Pierce and Clark counties. Other communities will see the requirements kick in a few years after that.
You can find the full regs here.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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