$3.5M Dept. of Ecology grants will support Tacoma stormwater projects

The City of Tacoma will receive nearly $3.5 million in grants from the Washington State Department of Ecology.

A $277,722 grant will help pay for lab testing and field testing of hazardous phosphorous levels in stormwater runoff at Wapato Lake. City staff will work with University of Washington Tacoma staff on a project that will gauge the effectiveness of water treatment residuals in removing phosphorous levels, according to City staff. The University of Washington Tacoma has already done preliminary lab testing in this area.

A $170,000 grant will help pay to assist with the implementation of the City of Tacoma’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit, including equipment purchases, staff training, database improvements, funding staff, and the design of stormwater retrofits and Local Improvement District (LID) projects. Specifically, the grant will be used to complete the LID storm design portion of the Prairie Line Trail to provide water quality treatment within this project and improve stormwater reaching Thea Foss Waterway; complete the LID stormwater design for the South Tacoma Way project to provide water quality treatment and flow control within the Flett Creek Watershed in South Tacoma; and fund the purchase of new technology to assist with the maintenance of permeable surfaces, according to City staff.

Finally, a $3 million grant will help pay for a project that aims to manage stormwater within the Flett Creek Watershed by expanding the Gravel Pit regional detention facility. According to City staff, the facility expansion will allow stormwater to collect there during peak storm events before being released slowly to protect downstream receiving waters from erosion and high storm flows. The project will also establish an “in-lieu-of detention” program, which will be offered to the development community within this watershed. According to City staff, developers will have the opportunity to pay into this program instead of designing, permitting, and constructing detention facilities on their properties. City transportation projects will also be able to participate in the “in-lieu-of detention” program.

Tacoma City Council approved three separate resolutions April 15 to formally accept the grants.