Puget Sound to Benefit from State Grants

The Washington Department of Ecology in Olympia is providing grants worth more than $25 million to help local communities restore Puget Sound and improve water quality across the state.  

The initiative is a collaborative effort by local, tribal, state and federal governments, business, agricultural, environmental interests and the public. The 2007 Legislature approved the spending for the state's 2008 fiscal year.

"We know that stormwater is the largest single water quality problem for our state, and for Puget Sound. These funds are all about protecting clean water and cleaning up polluted water as our state grows," said Gov. Chris Gregoire.  "This will help our communities and farmers in water-short areas, keep our rivers flowing for salmon, and help restore Puget Sound."

Of the $25.1 million, Ecology will send $19.7 million to local efforts across the state to prevent pollution from stormwater runoff. It is awarding $5.4 million for projects in the Puget Sound region to reuse highly treated wastewater.

Ecology is funding 46 projects, 36 of which aim to help restore Puget Sound. The Puget Sound counties are Clallam, Island, Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Mason, Pierce, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, Thurston and Whatcom.

The funding comes from Ecology's Stormwater Management Implementation Grants Program and its Reclaimed Water Grants Program.

The stormwater management program funds municipal stormwater projects that prevent polluted stormwater from reaching downstream waters. A November 2007 Ecology preliminary report found that surface-water runoff from land is generally the largest contributor of toxic chemicals entering the Sound. The program pays for low-impact development stormwater projects, which use techniques that mimic and preserve natural drainage systems. It also pays for projects that remove unlawful, pollutant discharges from storm sewer systems and retrofit projects that correct old-fashioned stormwater systems that send polluted runoff into downstream waters.

The Reclaimed Water Grants Program funds projects in water-short areas and locations where reclaimed water will restore important ecosystem functions in Puget Sound. Reclaiming, or reusing highly treated wastewater means using human-engineered treatment systems to speed up nature's restoration of water quality.

For a list of projects by county, visit
http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/funding/2008/2008swgrantlist.html.

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