West Seattle Blog... » Environment http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Sun, 04 Oct 2015 17:44:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 FOLLOWUP: Fauntleroy’s fall Recycle Roundup nets nine tons http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/followup-fauntleroys-fall-recycle-roundup-nets-nine-tons/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/followup-fauntleroys-fall-recycle-roundup-nets-nine-tons/#comments Sat, 03 Oct 2015 07:30:32 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=324750

Were you part of last Sunday’s Recycle Roundup at Fauntleroy Church? Another big turnout – someone new every minute! – and big haul, reports Judy Pickens:

The Sept. 27 Recycle Roundup relieved 360 West Seattle households of 9 tons of appliances, electronics, and all manner of other stuff for responsible recycling. The 12 roundups sponsored by Fauntleroy Church since 2010 have returned at least 142 tons to the resource stream. We’ll do it again in April.

The date will be in the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar as soon as it’s announced. If you absolutely have to get something recycled before then, check here to see what you can do with it.

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BEACH DRIVE STENCH: Not us, says King County Wastewater Treatment Division http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/beach-drive-stench-not-us-says-king-county-wastewater-treatment-division/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/beach-drive-stench-not-us-says-king-county-wastewater-treatment-division/#comments Thu, 01 Oct 2015 16:04:57 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=324588

(Right-center, Doug Marsano from KC Wastewater Treatment District, talking with residents)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Beautiful view.

Ugly smell.

The latter is what some Beach Drive-area residents say they’re still dealing with, and some find it difficult to believe it’s just rotting sea lettuce. So they’ve been talking to the King County Wastewater Treatment Division, which sent reps out Wednesday afternoon to talk with neighbors.

KCWTD took the complaints seriously enough to run tests in its system, looking for a telltale gas that would be present if something was getting out of the system and into the air. They didn’t find it, they told the neighbors:

The tests were conducted by King County odor investigators using gauges installed inside four manholes near your homes that detect the presence of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas. H2S gas smells like rotten eggs and is usually what causes people to notice odors coming from the sewer. If the sewer system was creating odors, the gauges would detect extended periods of time when heavy concentrations of H2S were present in the manhole that could escape to the environment.

Testing began on Thursday, September 24 and continued through Sunday, September 27. County odor investigators reviewed data from the gauges Monday, September 28. There are no indications that increased levels of H2S gas were present at any of the four manholes during the four-day testing period.

That wasn’t much consolation – some say the stink is worse than anything they’ve experienced in years, even decades along/near the shore. “It was unbearable this morning,” said one neighbor.

Joining KCWTD community liaison Doug Marsano for the gathering along the sidewalk across from Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook, in the late afternoon sunshine, was marine biologist Kim Stark, who works on water-quality issues with the county Department of Natural Resources.

She said this area’s not alone in the smelly siege – areas north of Elliott Bay have been dealing with it too, including Carkeek.

While skeptical neighbors wondered how it could continue through high tides and low, stormy weather and sunshine, Stark explained that the water is warmer this year, and that’s fueled the sea lettuce’s growth.

It’s not just pieces of sea lettuce on the shore, she added – mats of decaying sea lettuce, kelp, and other marine matter have been floating offshore, creating literal hotbeds of odor generation.

So what can we do about it? one neighbor asked.

Right now, the county reps said, not much. State permits would be needed to remove what’s rotting. And those would take a while. They mentioned the community of Dumas Bay in South King County, where the city of Federal Way got involved. And, as Beach Drive Blog (whose owners were also at the meeting) reminded readers, Fauntleroy Cove dealt with this for years, too, though we haven’t heard much lately.

In the WSB archives, we found a 2008 mention of a company that was expecting to remove sea lettuce in Fauntleroy and Dumas, to turn into biofuels.


(Published on WSB, September 2008: State Ecology Department photo of test sea-lettuce removal in Dumas Bay)
Our further research revealed that the company, Blue Marble, has long since changed its focus and moved to Montana, so it’s not an option now.

The neighbors vowed to organize and see what they can do about ensuring removal is an option next year – researching and applying for permits, for starters. In the short run, cooler weather – and most importantly, cooler water – seems to be their main hope of relief from the nose-wrinkling nuisance, but that might take another month.

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VIDEO: Summer-long ‘Swim Duwamish’ wraps up in West Seattle http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/video-summer-long-swim-duwamish-wraps-up-in-west-seattle/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/video-summer-long-swim-duwamish-wraps-up-in-west-seattle/#comments Wed, 30 Sep 2015 20:20:16 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=324529

It’s been a big year for milestone swims. Today, another one: That’s Mark Powell, on the last leg of his summer-long “Swim Duwamish” tour, incrementally traveling 55 miles, along the full length of the Green and Duwamish Rivers, to call attention to how vital it is to our region, and yet how fragile, after decades of abuse. As he swam to Seacrest, he didn’t arrive alone:

The Blue Heron Canoeescorted him in; Duwamish Tribe member Ken Workman spoke traditional words of welcome. See and hear for yourself (you’ll also hear what Powell said about his journey):

And then, celebratory cupcakes:

Powell said he set out to find “the heart of the Duwamish” and was glad to see the waters thick with salmon in some places:

His swims were chronicled on this website, where you can also see videos such as this one showing some of the salmon he saw:

Powell emphasized that you can take small steps to make a difference in the future of the river and all who live in it and by it and who depend on it (here’s one good place to learn “7 simple solutions”).

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HAPPENING NOW: ‘Recycle Roundup’ kicks off fall cleaning season, until 3 http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/happening-now-recycle-roundup-kicks-off-fall-cleaning-season-until-3/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/happening-now-recycle-roundup-kicks-off-fall-cleaning-season-until-3/#comments Sun, 27 Sep 2015 19:58:23 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=324218

Two more hours to get your recycle on – the stuff you can’t just put out in the bin – at the Fauntleroy Church Green Committee‘s fall “Recycle Roundup.” Check this “what they will and won’t take” list and then head to the parking lot at 9140 California SW for easy dropoff, with help from the 1 Green Planet crew, who were filling up two trucks when we stopped by at midmorning.

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RECYCLING TOMORROW? Here’s the best time to take your stuff to Fauntleroy ‘Roundup’ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/recycling-tomorrow-best-time-to-take-your-stuff-to-fauntleroy-roundup/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/recycling-tomorrow-best-time-to-take-your-stuff-to-fauntleroy-roundup/#comments Sat, 26 Sep 2015 18:25:12 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=324143 9 am-3 pm tomorrow, it’s the twice-a-year event that gives you the chance to recycle, for free, what you can’t just put out at the curb – the annual Fauntleroy Church Green Committee-presented “Recycle Roundup.” If you haven’t already checked the list and sorted your stuff, take a look:

Every Recycle Roundup brings in tons of recyclables. That means hundreds of people. Organizers have one BIG word of advice to get your dropoff done in the least amount of time – GO EARLY. There tends to be a rush toward the end, so if you can get there in the first few hours instead, you’ll save time and be able to get going with the rest of your Sunday. The church is at 9140 California SW; here’s a map.

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HAPPENING NOW: Raingarden tours in Sunrise Heights and Westwood as King County marks completion of its first ‘green stormwater infrastructure’ project http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/happening-now-raingarden-tours-in-sunrise-heights-and-westwood-as-king-county-marks-completion-of-its-first-green-stormwater-infrastructure-project/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/happening-now-raingarden-tours-in-sunrise-heights-and-westwood-as-king-county-marks-completion-of-its-first-green-stormwater-infrastructure-project/#comments Sun, 20 Sep 2015 20:44:58 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=323525

1:44 PM: Looking for something to do this afternoon? After King County Councilmember Joe McDermott and project manager Mary Wohleb ceremonially cut a big yellow ribbon, raingarden tours are under way in Sunrise Heights and Westwood until 4 pm – find the map here. It’s all to celebrate the completion of 91 roadside raingardens in planting strips spread across 15 blocks in those two neighborhoods, to keep stormwater out of the combined-sewer system and, in turn, keep untreated wastewater from overflowing into Puget Sound when the Barton Pump Station in Fauntleroy is overwhelmed. This is one of two King County Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) reduction projects in West Seattle that date back to early public meetings in 2009, and it was the county’s first-ever project of this type (the other project is the million-gallon Murray CSO storage tank being built across from Lowman Beach Park).

ADDED 3:24 PM: First, our video of the short round of speeches that began the event – Kristine Cramer from the KC Wastewater Treatment Division spoke first, then Councilmember McDermott and Wohleb.

As McDermott pointed out, “Neighbors spoke up, and the county listened.” That hinted at the pre-construction controversy for both West Seattle CSO projects. After early meetings dating back to 2007, three options for reducing the Barton basin (map) overflow were presented in 2010, and this was one of them; the other two involved stormwater-storage facilities on the Fauntleroy Schoolhouse back lot, or under upper Fauntleroy Way across from the ferry dock, which generated much opposition, given the historic unofficial park status of the area.

Once the “green stormwater infrastructure” plan was announced in late 2010, that too generated skepticism – the city had tried it in Ballard and that did not go well, to say the least. In 2011, the county tried to calm the most common concerns with a special meeting to address them.

Before today’s ceremony, we talked with project manager Wohleb, who said none of the fears had borne out, so far. No ponding, for example – if anything, she said, the bioswales are draining water more quickly than expected. While this coming fall/winter will be the first rainy season post-completion, some raingardens were done before last winter, so we asked if they have any data. Not so far, in part because the Barton Pump Station itself has been out of commission for construction, too, KCWTD says.

Wohleb also had words of praise for the entire project team, including the contractors >Goodfellow Brothers and designers SVR. Also mentioned today: The copious amount of communication with neighbors (look at all the block-by-block updates on this page, just as an example).

WHAT’S NEXT: If the county needs more stormwater to be taken out of the system, four more blocks could get raingardens – shown in the project map above as “delayed”; they were designed and permitted, just in case. If you’re in the project area and interested in a home raingarden or cistern, the rebate program through RainWise is funded through next year; check it out to see if you’re eligible.

And note that projects like this are in the works for Highland Park and South Park – here’s the county project page for that.

Something to say about the Barton CSO project? The county has set up an online survey – just go here.

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SUNDAY: Celebrate completion of Barton CSO roadside-raingarden project in Sunrise Heights, Westwood http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/sunday-celebrate-completion-of-barton-cso-roadside-raingarden-project/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/sunday-celebrate-completion-of-barton-cso-roadside-raingarden-project/#comments Thu, 17 Sep 2015 18:56:22 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=323184

The rain falling right now reminds us of what’s coming up Sunday afternoon in the Sunrise Heights and Westwood neighborhoods – the King County Wastewater Treatment Division‘s celebration of the completion of the Barton Combined Sewer Overflow Control project. 15 blocks now have roadside raingardens after two seasons of construction; a ceremonial ribbon-cutting is planned at 1 pm Sunday at 32nd SW and SW Kenyon, and then from 1:30-4 pm, tours will be offered of “three recently planted blocks.” It’s also a chance to get updated information about the project, including the ongoing RainWise program, offering incentives for people in the target area to install rain gardens and/or cisterns. This project has been much-discussed, going all the way back to early meetings six years ago, so now that it’s done – whether you’re coming to the celebration or not – the county’s offering a survey for feedback – find it here.

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You can help! Volunteer for salmon survey in West Seattle’s Longfellow Creek http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/you-can-help-volunteer-for-salmon-survey-in-west-seattles-longfellow-creek/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/you-can-help-volunteer-for-salmon-survey-in-west-seattles-longfellow-creek/#comments Wed, 16 Sep 2015 17:57:57 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=323072

(WSB photo from November 2014)

Last November, we reported on Puget Soundkeeper Alliance‘s project to track what happens to salmon in Longfellow Creek – which has much more of a toxic-runoff problem than West Seattle’s other urban salmon creek in Fauntleroy. This year, we have advance word that they’re looking for volunteer help, with an orientation event coming up in two weeks, so this is your chance to get involved:

Join Soundkeeper as we investigate the health of our local salmon runs at Longfellow Creek this fall! Volunteers will assess the effects of urban runoff on wildlife by conducting a pre-spawn mortality survey of Coho salmon. Volunteers needed for weekly surveys from October to early December.

Volunteer Orientation in West Seattle:
Thursday, October 1, 2015
6 pm-7:30 pm
Chaco Canyon Café
3770 SW Alaska St.

RSVP to michelle@pugetsoundkeeper.org

As Soundkeeper noted in this update last year, federal scientists have discovered a pre-spawn death rate of up to 80 percent in urban creeks – compared to one percent in rural creeks. The results of this work, including what you can do as a volunteer, will help support more cleanups, education, and enforcement to help clear the waters and save salmon.

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From the ‘in case you wondered’ file: About that smell http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/from-the-in-case-you-wondered-file-about-that-smell/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/from-the-in-case-you-wondered-file-about-that-smell/#comments Mon, 14 Sep 2015 16:54:22 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=322855 At least once a day, someone asks us about a sewer-ish stink in the Beach Drive vicinity or upslope. While busy with other stories this past week-plus, we’ve been replying by pointing them to Beach Drive Blog‘s explanation – but it’s time, while we have a moment, to mention it here for anyone else who wondered but hasn’t inquired. BDB says it’s the rotting sea lettuce that turns up every so often, more notoriously a ways further south at Fauntleroy Cove. This isn’t unique to West Seattle, nor even to Washington, nor even to the U.S. – a Google search for the term “rotting sea lettuce” turns up reports from other nations including Canada, China, and the UK.

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Congratulations! ‘Diver Laura’ James honored as ‘Sea Hero’ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/congratulations-diver-laura-james-honored-as-sea-hero/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/congratulations-diver-laura-james-honored-as-sea-hero/#comments Mon, 07 Sep 2015 18:15:31 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=322059

From just-hatched octopus babies to an iridescent nudibranch, the sea life in the video above comprise just a tiny corner of the window on the undersea world that “Diver Laura” James has provided to so many in recent years. And it’s an adjunct to what else she and fellow volunteers have done in local waters – cleanups and environmental education, too. That all made her Scuba Diving magazine’s monthly “Sea Hero” for August, one of what the magazine describes as “everyday divers who make an extraordinary difference.” In case you haven’t seen it in the print edition, the story is now online – read it here. Her videos are part of what she talks about in the interview:

People protect what they love, but they must know it to love it. I remind myself of this when the weather is cold and the visibility is low. All the creatures, great and small, are worth filming and sharing, and that next bit of video I shoot may make the difference for one elected official, or inspire one little kid.

She also talks about the tox-ick.org toxic-runoff-reduction campaign – take a look at 7 things you can do, especially important as winter (and inevitably more rain) approaches, washing what’s on the streets and in your yards right into Puget Sound.

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Get creative! Nature Consortium launching ‘EcoARTs’ classes http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/get-creative-this-fall-nature-consortium-launching-ecoarts-classes/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/get-creative-this-fall-nature-consortium-launching-ecoarts-classes/#comments Mon, 07 Sep 2015 05:26:25 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=322042

The photo and announcement are from West Seattle-based nonprofit Nature Consortium:

Have you ever wanted to take a painting, mosaic, or paper making class? Now you can! Unleash your creative side in classes that explore the intersection of art and nature. Nature Consortium’s affordable new EcoARTs classes for beginning-level students begin on September 14th. Classes are taught by professional artists and no prior arts experience is necessary. Register today! Take one class, a whole series, or mix and match. Art supplies included. Open to students of all ages.

Dates: September 14 – November 30
Class Sessions: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays at 4 pm – 5:30 pm or 6 pm – 7:30 pm

Mondays: Painting, Instructor: Aramis Hamer
Tuesdays: Mosaic, Instructor: Yeggy Michael
Wednesdays: Paper Making, Instructor: Carrie Ziegler

Cost: $25 per class. Supplies included.

Classes are at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge Way SW), where Nature Consortium is headquartered. You can register online, here.

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Fall cleaning this weekend? What to save for Fauntleroy UCC’s upcoming ‘Recycle Roundup’ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/fall-cleaning-this-weekend-what-to-save-for-fauntleroy-uccs-upcoming-recycle-roundup/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/09/fall-cleaning-this-weekend-what-to-save-for-fauntleroy-uccs-upcoming-recycle-roundup/#comments Sat, 05 Sep 2015 18:18:56 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=321919

(WSB photo from 2014)

Staying home this holiday weekend and doing a little (pre-)fall cleaning? Reminder: Next edition of the popular twice-yearly Recycle Roundup at Fauntleroy UCC Church is only three weeks away: Sunday, September 27th, 9 am-3 pm (9140 California SW). Each spring and fall, 1 Green Planet takes away tons of recyclables via this free-to-all dropoff event. You can plan ahead because, thanks to Judy Pickens, we have the list of what will be accepted (free dropoffs!) this time around – see it here.

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Make West Seattle greener with ‘free’ trees! City has conifers, if you have places to plant them http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/make-west-seattle-greener-with-free-trees-city-has-conifers-if-you-have-places-to-plant-them/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/make-west-seattle-greener-with-free-trees-city-has-conifers-if-you-have-places-to-plant-them/#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 15:59:22 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=320784 Once again this year, the city has trees in search of homes – maybe even your neighborhood. From Katie Gibbons:

Could your yard use a beautiful new tree? You’re in luck! Through the City of Seattle’s Trees for Neighborhoods project, Seattle residents can apply for up to 4 free trees for their yard or planting strip. Participants receive free trees, water bags, mulch, and planting and care instruction.

While many of this year’s small ornamentals have sold out, you can still apply for 1 of 5 gorgeous conifers that will add beauty and grace to your yard. If you have the space, consider planting one of three native conifers we’re offering this year: the grand fir, the western hemlock, or the western red cedar. For small, narrow spaces, plant the graceful Serbian spruce. Consider the deciduous bald cypress and enjoy its changing color and soft beautiful foliage. Bald cypresses are excellent urban trees because of their adaptability, even winning the Society of Municipal Arborists’ Tree of the Year award!

To learn more about this year’s species, space requirement, and to apply, go here.

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Port neighbors seek full environmental review of Terminal 5 project, while city re-opens time for comments after losing some http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/port-neighbors-seek-full-environmental-review-of-terminal-5-project-while-city-re-opens-time-for-comments-after-losing-some/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/port-neighbors-seek-full-environmental-review-of-terminal-5-project-while-city-re-opens-time-for-comments-after-losing-some/#comments Mon, 17 Aug 2015 03:48:00 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=319628

You’ve probably seen those signs around Admiral and east Alki. They’re not for a political campaign – they’re for the citizen-advocacy campaign to get the Port of Seattle to change its mind about part of the process leading up to its planned modernization of Terminal 5; the web address on the signs points you to this online petition.

Though Terminal 5 has made headlines in the past several months for the short-term lease that brought in part of Shell’s Arctic-drilling fleet, this isn’t related to that. This has to do with the port’s long-term plan for the sprawling terminal in northeast West Seattle, as reported here more than a year ago – the plan to make it “big-ship ready,” as the phrase goes. Not that the ships that called at Terminal 5 until its closure a year ago weren’t big – but they weren’t as big as the ones that are expected to dominate the business in the years ahead.

Right now, the port says it doesn’t need a full environmental review for the proposal, because ultimately, it contends, the volume won’t be any larger – it’ll just come on bigger, and fewer, ships. Port reps defended that contention when they spoke at the West Seattle Transportation Coalition‘s meeting last month (WSB coverage here, including first mention of the neighbors’ petition campaign). Nearby residents cited multiple reasons why they believe a full environmental review – which includes issues such as traffic and noise, not just ecological effects – is warranted.

A new twist since that meeting: The city reopened the comment period on a certain part of the process – the “shoreline substantial development application” – because it lost a month’s worth of citizen comments sent in via the Department of Planning and Development‘s online system. DPD spokesperson Wendy Shark confirmed this to us when we inquired via e-mail:

An upgrade to the Land Use Information Bulletin (LUIB) application was made on June 29. Before the upgrade, comments sent via the link posted in the LUIB were forwarded directly to the Public Resource Center. That didn’t happen after the upgrade. The issue was brought to our attention by members of the public when they noticed that their comments had not been uploaded to our electronic library. We corrected the problem on July 29.

Here’s the revised official notice – if you used the form attached to the previous notice to send in a comment after June 29th, you’ll want to send it again. And if you haven’t commented on it yet, neighbors point out that unless there’s a turnabout on the environmental-impact review issue, it could be your only chance to comment on those impacts. The notice summarizes the project as:

Shoreline Substantial Development Application to allow improvements to existing container cargo facility (Terminal 5). Project includes removal and replacement of portions of pier structure, including crane rails, decking and piling, dredging of approximately 29,800 cu. yds. of sediment, and under pier shoreline stabilization. Project also includes installation of an electrical substation and utility upgrades. Determination of NonSignificance prepared by the Port of Seattle.

That last part is what the neighbors take most issue with – that’s the declaration (read it here, and read the “environmental checklist” here) that they don’t think a full environmental impact review is needed. Even if the terminal’s container volume is the same as before, or even less, many other factors have changed, they point out – population and traffic, for example, and that’s why they think a study is merited.

For now, September 4th is the new deadline for comments on the modernization project – via this form, or via e-mail at prc@seattle.gov.

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VIDEO: Where some of Friday’s rain went, after it fell http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/video-where-some-of-fridays-rain-went-after-it-fell/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/08/video-where-some-of-fridays-rain-went-after-it-fell/#comments Sun, 16 Aug 2015 12:52:38 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=320091

From “Diver Laura” James – the underwater view of Friday’s inch-plus rainstorm. That’s the outfall near the popular diving area off West Seattle’s Seacrest Park, and it’s a reminder that toxic urban runoff is a major pollution problem for Puget Sound. Here’s some of what you can do to make it less toxic.

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