Dept. of Ecology awards $6.2M for stormwater projects in Tacoma, Pierce County

The Washington Department of Ecology is awarding $68 million in grants for 117 stormwater construction projects across the state. Ecology estimates that the projects will provide up to 400 jobs across the state while protecting lakes, rivers and Puget Sound.

Locally, projects funded in Tacoma and Pierce County were awarded $6,6287,400 and include the following:

City of Tacoma | “A” Street Stormwater Retrofit | $1 million — Sampling of the A Street storm line indicates continuing elevated levels of PCBs and mercury. This project targets the water quality of this deteriorated area of the storm system by replacing decaying pipe and installing regional treatment to improve the quality of water discharged to the Foss Superfund cleanup site;

City of Tacoma | Pt. Defiance Regional Treatment Retrofit| $1 million — A regional treatment facility is proposed for 720 tributary acres in North Tacoma.  The proposed Regional Rain Garden, located at Point Defiance will treat a significant portion of the City affected by the Tacoma Smelter Plume.  The facility is anticipated to improve the quality of stormwater discharged into Puget Sound;

Pierce County Public Works and Utilities | Bresemann Forest Outfall Retrofit | $154,400 — This project will retrofit an existing storm drainage system with water quality devices to improve the condition of Spanaway and Clover Creeks;

City of Tacoma | Cheney Stadium Stormwater LID Retrofit | $1 million — Cheney Stadium is located at the headwaters of Leach and Chambers Creek.   Approximately two acres of existing parking lot will be retrofit with Local Improvement District (LID) components and the City’s Tree Best Management Practices (BMP). One acre of existing porous asphalt will be rehabilitated and enhanced with the Tree BMP designed to improve flow control;

Pierce County Surface Water Management | Clarks/Rody Creek Stormwater Retrofits | $829,000 — This project would retrofit an existing 4.6-acre stormwater pond along Rody Creek upstream of 90th Street East to treat untreated stormwater and reduce geomorphically significant flows, and treat stormwater runoff from 72nd Street East (a major 4-lane arterial) to improve water quality conditions, including reducing sediment, nutrients, bacteria and metals;

Pierce County Public Works and Utilities | Pierce County Groundwater Pollutant Reduction Project | $578,000 — This project will retrofit approximately 100 single stage drywells throughout Pierce County to a two stage design which is more effective in removing pollutants, easier to maintain, and provides for spill control capacity;

Pierce County Airport and Ferry Division | Tacoma Narrows Airport Pavement Removal | $326,000 — This runway narrowing project will remove 241,00 square feet of impervious pavement to be replaced by grass. Two oil and water separator vaults with shut-off valves will be added to the stationary fueling stations. Spill control elbows will be installed into designated areas where mobile fueling takes place;

Pierce County Surface Water Management | Spanaway Lake Park Stormwater Retrofit | $690,000 — Construction for Phase 2 of Spanaway Lake Park Retrofit will control and treat stormwater from approximately 2.5 acres of the Spanaway Lake Park access road, and the boat launch parking lots. The proposal is to utilize permeable pavement in concert with “UrbanGreen BioFilters” and/or “Filterras”;

City of Tacoma | Asotin Court LID Retrofit | $710,000 — The Asotin Court LID Retrofit will provide enhanced water quality and reduce stormwater runoff through use of a reduced pavement section, intermittent parking, pervious sidewalks, and rain gardens. Wapato Lake has been identified as high in phosphorus and this project will reduce contaminant loading to the sensitive receiving water.

The funding, part of the recently adopted state budget economic stimulus “jobs bill,” helps the state’s most populated communities manage and control polluted stormwater runoff. It also helps them repair broken stormwater systems.

The money is from the voter-approved Local Toxics Control Account. It’s funded through a tax paid by wholesale distributors of petroleum and other hazardous materials as part of the Model Toxics Control Act of 1988.

“Our local governments are financially strapped, and I’m proud that our state can provide this funding,” said Gov. Chris Gregoire. “This money will give communities new jobs, cleaner water, and much-needed help for following stormwater permit requirements.”

Polluted stormwater runoff is a threat to waters in the state’s most populated areas. Runoff from hardened surfaces picks up chemicals and bacteria and carries it downstream into lakes, rivers and into Puget Sound. Most of the time, stormwater is not treated, even when it goes into a street drain.The Department of Ecology’s Fiscal Year 2012 Statewide Stormwater Program will share its originally intentioned $30 million, plus an additional $24 million. Ecology is offering grants the top 96 projects that qualified for funds.

The Department of Ecology’s Fiscal Year 2011 Stormwater Retrofit Low Impact Development Grant Program will share an additional $14.5 million for local government construction projects that are not yet completed with funding received through the 2010 state budget. The 2010 state budget originally gave the Department of Ecology $23.4 million to fund 43 projects.

Stormwater retrofit projects correct deficiencies in older, existing stormwater infrastructure in urban areas. The projects might reduce stormwater contamination, reduce high stormwater flows, or both. Many retrofit projects use low-impact development techniques. Low impact development is a construction technique that uses vegetation, healthy soils, porous pavement and other tools to keep stormwater from running off a site and carrying pollution downstream.

Read specifics about the 117 local projects under “New” 2012 Funded Project online at .

In addition, the 2012 state budget sends $1 million to the Department of Ecology over the next state fiscal year to provide training through the Washington Stormwater Center to train local governments, contractors and developers about low impact development. This funding comes from the state’s just-out operating budget and it must be spent by June 2013.

The $68 million is a combination of funding from the 2011-13 biennial capital budget and the recent 2012 supplemental capital budget. Since 2005, local governments have received $183 million for stormwater needs from state funding and from federal 2009 American Reinvestment and Recovery Act dollars. The state’s most-populated cities and counties are required to manage their polluted runoff under the state’s municipal stormwater permit program.

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$1.4M project to improve Cheney Stadium parking lot, streets, sidewalks (01/04/12) —

City of Tacoma pursues grants for downtown, North Tacoma, Cheney Stadium stormwater projects (11/21/11) —