Environmental protection and land use planning issues have been increasingly important to Public Ports in Washington State. Ports often operate at the interface of land and water, and are located in areas crucial to plant and animal life. In addition, many ports around the state are innovative drivers of clean technology, environmental protections and best management practices. For example, storm water remediation efforts in Tacoma, Seattle and Port Townsend have been noteworthy and creative, utilizing rain gardens, oyster shell and biochar by-products. Great collaborations have been established, including partnerships with area Land Trusts and efforts such as the Duwamish River Clean-up Coalition.
Port of Seattle Storm Water
It is no secret that the Seattle metropolitan area is privy to rain fall, and thus a large amount of storm water. With a growing economy comes more building and more “impervious surfaces” to the absorption of rain water. Run off from these impervious surfaces—surfaces such as metal roofs and concrete— carry many metals, bacteria, oils, and grease, before the water enters Seattle’s storm water systems. These pollutants are an unfortunate part of development, but Port of Seattle aims to do its part in keeping its storm water clean of contaminants. Port of Seattle has more square feet of concrete surfaces than Seattle Center, and so it becomes imperative to ensure that the storm water is cleaned before it is reintroduced into the environment. Port of Seattle treats 1.2 billion gallons of storm water from its 1,560 acres of paved surfaces, ensuring that it complies with its mission of a Blue today and a Blue tomorrow.
Port of Seattle ScRAPS 2
Port of Seattle’s seaport division is dedicated to cleaning the air around the Port of Seattle through its ScRAPs2 (Seaport Truck Scrappage and Replacements for Air in Puget Sound) program. This innovative program aims to start cleaning up the air around the Port by up to 90% by 2018. ScRAPS 2 will require that all trailer-trucks coming in and out of the Port be a 2007 model or newer. It is estimated that post 2007 models burn 35 times cleaner than earlier models. Through federal and state grants, there will be a 50% reimbursement for the purchase price of newer truck models. With thousands of trucks coming in and leaving the port every day, this innovative new program will help clean up the air, and ensure a sustainable future.
Port of Tacoma Stormwater Treatment Systems
Water is an integral part of the Port of Tacoma’s environment. As rainwater runs off concrete and metal surfaces, like pavement and roofs, it can carry pollutants to our waterways. In an economy that values a strong maritime and industrial sector, the Port of Tacoma is finding innovative ways to treat stormwater, preventing pollutants from ever reaching Commencement Bay. The port pioneered bioretention filtration techniques that mimic nature to treat industrial stormwater. These systems use a mix of compost, soil and plants to mimic natural hydraulic patterns to remove pollutants. Each system is customized to the area it serves. The stormwater treatment system at a log yard, for instance, is different from those in a container terminal or rail yard. The award-winning systems have shown remarkable results in reducing zinc and other pollutants to below stringent state benchmarks.
Learn more and see examples of Washington’s BLUE economy at work.