West Seattle Blog... » Environment http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Fri, 31 Oct 2014 09:18:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 West Seattle windstorm aftermath: Lowman Beach cleared to reopen after sewage overflow during power outage http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/west-seattle-windstorm-aftermath-lowman-beach-cleared-to-reopen-after-sewage-overflow-during-power-outage/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/west-seattle-windstorm-aftermath-lowman-beach-cleared-to-reopen-after-sewage-overflow-during-power-outage/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 20:53:02 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=290328

(WSB photo: Excavation site at midday today)
As the excavation continues at the Murray Combined Sewer Overflow Control Project site across from Lowman Beach Park, another reminder of what the future million-gallon tank is for – King County announced that Saturday night’s windstorm led to a power outage and another overflow from Murray Pump Station, into Puget Sound. We’re still waiting to hear the amount of sewage that (updated) 200,000 gallons of sewage overflowed; county Wastewater Treatment spokesperson Annie Kolb-Nelson says bacteria levels “were never elevated,” but the beach was closed “as a precaution” and has since reopened. The county brought in a mobile generator to get the pump station back online and stop Saturday night’s overflow; once the entire Murray project is complete, that shouldn’t be necessary either, since the pump station itself is getting a “permanent back-up electrical system” in addition to the huge tank to hold overflows. Right now, the overflow tank site is more than two-thirds of the way into the 60-foot-deep excavation that’s planned for the $26 million project, which is designed to bring the county into compliance with orders to limit overflows to no more than one per year; currently, this pump station averages five.

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West Seattle salmon: Updates from Fauntleroy, Longfellow Creeks http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/west-seattle-salmon-updates-from-fauntleroy-longfellow-creeks/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/west-seattle-salmon-updates-from-fauntleroy-longfellow-creeks/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 02:58:40 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=290135

The salmon homecoming continues! Above, another coho from Fauntleroy Creek; on Monday afternoon, Dennis Hinton reported, he and Judy Pickens “saw four new coho come through the culvert and shoot up the creek. Three were females, 4-5-pounds. One was a red-sided male, about 7 or 8 pounds. The big male did something I’ve never seen before in all my years of watching at Fauntleroy Creek. It leaped entirely out of the water over weir #6, into the next pool. Spectacular sight. Just like you’ve seen in the movies.” The photo above shows that red-sided male, one of nine counted in the creek as of last night (if we get an update for today, we’ll add it). Find out more about Fauntleroy Creek here. (**ADDED 8:58 PM** As Dennis notes in comments, 4 more today – 13 total in 3 days.)

(back to original report) And we’ve heard a couple reports of salmon back in Longfellow Creek, too – John sent a photo:

He “counted at least five around and under the salmon bone bridge” during a visit on Monday morning. You can find out more about Longfellow Creek (and its Legacy Trail) on this city webpage.

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More coho at Fauntleroy Creek as neighbors drum to welcome them http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/more-coho-at-fauntleroy-creek-as-neighbors-drum-to-welcome-them/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/more-coho-at-fauntleroy-creek-as-neighbors-drum-to-welcome-them/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 04:27:32 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=290030

(WSB photos by Torin Record-Sand)
As neighbors drummed and sang tonight in the annual gathering to welcome Fauntleroy Creek‘s coho spawners, steward Judy Pickens (above) had an update: Five seen so far. Definitely within earshot of tonight’s welcoming party!

Last year, the coho were a no-show, but the year before, it was a record run. Some of tonight’s participants at the Fauntleroy Creek overlook across from the ferry dock made decorations in honor of the salmon’s return.

Jamie Shilling led the songs and chants once again:

This time of year is one of two key peak periods of attention for Fauntleroy Creek; the other is springtime, when hundreds of schoolchildren visit to release classroom-raised salmon fry. Meantime, with Judy’s help, we’ll continue updating this year’s coho watch; you are welcome to watch down by the creek (off SW Director just east of the overlook) when volunteer watchers are on duty in the days ahead.

P.S. Clean water is vital to the salmon’s health. Reducing runoff – which ends up in creeks and Puget Sound – is a big step you can take. It’s not too difficult; try these seven simple steps featured at tox-ick.org.

P.P.S. See this year’s first two arriving spawners here.

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West Seattle weekend scene: Duwamish Alive!, Pigeon Point edition http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/west-seattle-weekend-scene-duwamish-alive-pigeon-point-edition/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/west-seattle-weekend-scene-duwamish-alive-pigeon-point-edition/#comments Sun, 19 Oct 2014 01:33:08 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=289138

From West Seattle to Tukwila, hundreds of volunteers teamed up today for another productive Duwamish Alive! multi-site work party. In the West Duwamish Greenbelt at Pigeon Point Park, Nature Consortium and EarthCorps led the way – volunteers we saw there included NC founder Nancy Whitlock:

The 100-plus people at work at this site alone also included Green River Community College students. And we even met Harriet the helpful Corgi:

Eleven sites were on the list for Duwamish Alive! today. Watch duwamishalive.org for word of next spring’s edition. And watch WSB for other opportunities to help with cleanups and planting parties around the community just about EVERY weekend (for example – North Delridge could use your help one week from today!).

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Murray CSO million-gallon tank project: Late-night work tomorrow http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/murray-cso-million-gallon-tank-project-late-night-work-tomorrow/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/murray-cso-million-gallon-tank-project-late-night-work-tomorrow/#comments Fri, 10 Oct 2014 03:23:43 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=288321

(Murray CSO storage-tank-site excavation, photographed Monday by Richard)
An alert for Lowman Beach-area residents: The contractor for King County’s Murray Combined Sewer Overflow Control Project plans four hours of late-night work tomorrow night. The county sent the notification this afternoon; the work involves pipe inspections that have to be done under certain tidal and pipe-use conditions, and those conditions happen 11 pm Friday night until about 3 am Saturday. Workers will be inspecting pipes beneath two manholes, one on the south side of Lowman Beach Park, one alongside the CSO project site on Lincoln Park Way. A map is part of the notification document you can see here (PDF). The county says neighbors are being notified, and reminds anyone with questions/concerns that they can call the 24-hour project hotline at 206-205-9186.

Also, a reminder: This Saturday is also scheduled to be the first of several Saturdays with extra excavation work, as previously announced.

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You can help: Choose where you’ll be part of Duwamish Alive! http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/you-can-help-choose-where-youll-be-part-of-duwamish-alive/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/you-can-help-choose-where-youll-be-part-of-duwamish-alive/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 23:18:58 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=288164

View Duwamish Alive! 2014 in a larger map

From West Seattle, south along the Duwamish River, and even to a few spots southeast of where our map ends, October 18th is the fall edition of Duwamish Alive! – 11 work parties to help the river, its watershed, and everyone/everything living in/along them. You only need to commit four hours that day – registration is at 9:30, then you’ll be helping out 10 am-2 pm. Here’s where to go to choose your site and sign up.

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Followup: What West Seattle’s Lafarge plant is doing, after federal settlement of water-pollution investigation http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/followup-what-west-seattles-lafarge-plant-is-doing-after-federal-settlement-of-water-pollution-investigation/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/followup-what-west-seattles-lafarge-plant-is-doing-after-federal-settlement-of-water-pollution-investigation/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 16:13:08 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=287239 By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

A long-running water-pollution investigation involving the Lafarge plant in West Seattle has ended with a settlement and fine. As first reported Sunday by seattlepi.com, the company was fined $300,000, confirmed operations manager Jonathan Hall in an interview with WSB.

The investigation dates back to 2006. Hall (WSB photo at right) says the settlement has been “under discussion for close to 2 years” and was finalized by the U.S. Department of Justice a week ago. “The conversation encompassed a wide range of topics, and we have made some infrastructure changes here as part of that settlement, and of course also worked on some of the practices that we had … to make sure we were super tight as a result.”

The plant has gone through a major change since then, shutting down its kiln in 2010, but Hall said that since the “primary alleged violations were related to stormwater and stormwater-management practices, and of course it still rains here,” the settlement was relevant to its current operations. “We endeavor to keep a tight facility; we actually have close to 2 million gallons of stormwater storage here (and) have created a tight perimeter literally around the very edge of the plant, all the way around,” with curbing. “Part of that was what we agreed to, to the final 100 percent. We’re pretty proud of that … we think we strive to be something that the regulators are proud of, and believe we’re pretty damn close to that.”

100 percent of “the stormwater that falls on the site” is collected, Hall said, and retained to be treated before being discharged into the river. “Twice a day, crews are out inspecting all our transfer stations for the water. We are closely monitoring tank levels and the water treatment system, and (spend) a whole lot of time making sure the area the water does fall on is swept as quickly as it can be after it’s been used. … Water is a huge focus point for us.”

Hall says there are no other pollution-related actions pending regarding the plant – “this closes out all the action we’re aware of.”

One of Lafarge’s current lines of work is related to the ongoing cleanup work on the river; dredged sediments move through the plant on the way to a landfill. “We are an access point for bringing it out.” That work, said Hall, has for more than two years been reusing part of the plant that otherwise has been inactive since the kiln shutdown.

That’s part of “how we re-created the facility,” a topic we also discussed in our conversation at the plant. It has a permanent staff of about 30, with about 30 other workers of varius statuses on site, on any given day. They are the “#1 distributor of low-carbon-dioxide cements,” and of products using recycled materials, such as “cementitious cements.” Hall mentions nine different products, four of them “close to 100 percent recycled,” the others with varying amounts of recycled content.

One of the major materials they use, he says, is “granulated blast furnace slag,” which is used for a product not manufactured anywhere else on the West Coast. Yes, we asked, but no, it doesn’t come from Nucor, which uses a different type of process than the one creating what is used at Lafarge, slag that comes from Japan.

Their products are being well-utilized in projects around town, including the Seawall Replacement Project, says Hall, who is in his fourth year running the plant at 5400 W. Marginal Way SW.

One more question – has the forthcoming merger led to any changes yet? Nothing major, he says, but there’s a bit of irony – Lafarge bought this plant from Holcim, the firm it’s merging with, back in 1997.

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Ready to ride? Denny teachers to lead bilingual community bike tour on Longfellow Creek Trail this Saturday http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/ready-to-ride-denny-teachers-to-lead-bilingual-community-bike-tour-on-longfellow-creek-trail-this-saturday/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/ready-to-ride-denny-teachers-to-lead-bilingual-community-bike-tour-on-longfellow-creek-trail-this-saturday/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 22:33:26 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=286891

Another quick look ahead to Saturday – this time to make sure you know about a community bicycle ride along the Longfellow Creek Trail, to be guided in Spanish and English by Denny International Middle School teachers Andrew Chase and Ben Evans. Its goal is “to connect students and their families to local ecology” – but everyone, whether connected to a local school or not, is welcome to be part of it. Above, the invitation in English; for the Spanish version, click here. Meet at 9 am Saturday (September 27th) at the baseball fields by Roxhill Elementary (30th/Roxbury).

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Followup: Farewell to 8 tons of recyclables at Fauntleroy roundup http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/followup-farewell-to-8-tons-of-recyclables-at-fauntleroy-roundup/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/followup-farewell-to-8-tons-of-recyclables-at-fauntleroy-roundup/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 19:49:19 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=286652

(WSB photo of 1 Green Planet crew at Recycle Roundup last Sunday)
From the Fauntleroy Church Green Committee, via Judy Pickens:

Despite the sunny weather and afternoon Seahawks game, Sunday’s Recycle Roundup at Fauntleroy Church netted 7.8 tons of recyclables from West Seattle. An estimated 325 vehicles brought everything from water heaters to wire fencing and keyboards. We’ll do it again on April 26.

If you missed the roundup and can’t wait that long – the county website has a directory of who takes what, starting with the search box here. And for items that weren’t accepted on Sunday, the Green Committee has suggestions on this flyer they were offering to participants.

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Get ready to recycle more: Seattle to require food-waste composting http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/get-ready-to-recycle-more-seattle-to-require-food-waste-composting/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/get-ready-to-recycle-more-seattle-to-require-food-waste-composting/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 01:16:02 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=286576 Don’t look at it as a ban on throwing away your food scraps, suggested City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw before this afternoon’s vote – look at it as expanded recycling. And with that, she and the rest of the City Council voted to require recycling of food scraps and compostable paper, starting next year. The enforcement teeth won’t be very sharp – $1 fines, and only after a “massive” informational campaign – but the city believes this is what’s needed to jolt the “stalled” shrinkage of Seattleites’ recycling rate. (Also, as noted on the city website, “Food waste is one third of the residential garbage in Seattle … and is transported by train 300 miles to an Oregon landfill.”) Details of how it would be enforced are in this slide deck from a briefing earlier this month.

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Happening now: Take it away! Busy ‘Recycle Roundup’ in Fauntleroy http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/happening-now-take-it-away-busy-recycle-roundup-in-fauntleroy/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/happening-now-take-it-away-busy-recycle-roundup-in-fauntleroy/#comments Sun, 21 Sep 2014 18:11:29 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=286460

That’s the most unusual item we saw during a brief stop at the Fauntleroy Church Green Committee‘s “Recycle Roundup,” under way until 3 pm – someone’s recycling a watercooler. Tons of items (literally) are dropped off during these six-hour, twice-yearly, FREE events – and one-third of the way into today’s roundup, it’s busy:

1 Green Planet‘s team will unload your stuff and get it into their containers. Just make sure what you’re taking is on this list. If you want to recycle something that isn’t, the committee’s Green Ideas” handout (with other sustainable-living advice) has suggestions.

P.S. The church lot is at 9140 California SW, but don’t try to drive south on the California straightaway to get there – it’s a short section that is best reached by heading west on SW Barton from 35th and following the curves (and name change), or by heading southbound past the ferry dock, and following the eastward curve up toward and just beyond the Endolyne business district.

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One more nudge: Recycle Roundup tomorrow at Fauntleroy Church http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/one-more-nudge-recycle-roundup-tomorrow-in-fauntleroy-church-lot/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/one-more-nudge-recycle-roundup-tomorrow-in-fauntleroy-church-lot/#comments Sun, 21 Sep 2014 02:59:25 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=286393 Twice a year, the Fauntleroy Church Green Committee brings in 1 Green Planet to collect dozens of types of items that are recyclable but not routinely picked up in your curbside service. Tomorrow is this year’s second Recycle Roundup, 9 am-3 pm at the church parking lot (9140 California SW; map). Here’s the list of what you can drop off, with a few notes about what you can’t. As usual, no charge for your dropoff (the Green Committee does accept donations to help cover the cost, if you are so moved; they’ll also be offering a flyer with some green-living tips).

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Two ways to make a difference Saturday morning in West Seattle: Alki Beach cleanup, Boren Building parking-lot party http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/two-ways-to-make-a-difference-saturday-morning-in-west-seattle-alki-beach-cleanup-boren-building-parking-lot-party/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/two-ways-to-make-a-difference-saturday-morning-in-west-seattle-alki-beach-cleanup-boren-building-parking-lot-party/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 22:12:15 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=286282 Before you move entirely into weekend mode, early reminders about two ways you can start your weekend in grand community-contribution style, both happening Saturday morning:

ALKI CLEANUP: Join Puget SoundKeeper Alliance and friends on International Coastal Cleanup Day. Check in by Statue of Liberty Plaza (61st/Alki) at 8:45 on Saturday, clean the beach 9 am-noon. Full details here.

PARKING LOT PARTY: The big lot at the Boren Building (5950 Delridge Way SW) is now used by two schools, with Arbor Heights Elementary joining K-5 STEM these next two years. They could use some community help with safety upgrades and cleanup 8 am-noon Saturday: “Projects include painting, unearthing a hidden sidewalk, adding new signage, and beautifying the grounds. We’ve got the supplies & tools – we just need your help to make it happen!”

After all that, TONS more ways to enjoy your Saturday – preview them on our calendar.

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Followup: Where the dirt from overflow-control tank dig is going, and other questions answered http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/followup-where-the-dirt-from-overflow-control-tank-dig-is-going-and-other-questions-answered/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/followup-where-the-dirt-from-overflow-control-tank-dig-is-going-and-other-questions-answered/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 05:12:05 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=286171 One of West Seattle’s biggest digs is under way.

Excavation started today at the site of King County’s Murray Combined Sewer Overflow control project, a million-gallon underground tank across from Lowman Beach. The announcement published here Wednesday – noting that up to 55 trucks a day will travel two nearby routes – brought lots of questions in WSB comments, so we asked KCWTD’s Doug Marsano for answers. We also went to the site overlook along Lincoln Park Way for a firsthand look (see the short video above, and the photo added here).

HOW MUCH DIRT? At an earlier community meeting, it was described as “enough to fill Colman Pool twice.” Specifically, we now know – 21,000 cubic yards.

WHERE IS IT BEING TAKEN? Basically, east King County: “Cedar Hills Landfill at 16645 228th Ave SE, in Maple Valley, and Reserve Silica Corporation on Black Diamond Road in Ravensdale.”

ARE THE TRUCKING HOURS SAME AS THE WORK HOURS? The latter, according to this week’s update, are 7 am-6 pm. But, we learned today:

Haul hours are 8 am- 3:30 pm. There may be additional trucks entering or leaving the site outside of those hours, but the bulk of the trips will occur between during haul hours.

IS IT ‘UP TO 55 TRUCKS A DAY’ FROM THE START, OR RAMPING UP? The latter, replied Marsano: “Today, for instance, crews removed about 30 loads. The most intense period will be through early October when the tank hole is relatively shallow. Truck trips will slow to about 20 a day (or 3-4 an hour) when the hole is at its deepest.”

WHERE ARE THE TRUCKS STAGING? “The initial plan is to stage trucks on Fauntleroy. Adjustments will be made as necessary to ease congestion and accommodate ferry traffic, including use of 48th Ave and the east side of Beach Drive.”

The project website is here; the 24-hour project hotline, for questions or to report problems, is 206-205-9186. Current timeline for completing the storage-tank facility is the second half of 2016.

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Up to 55 trucks a day, as Murray CSO storage-tank digging begins across from Lowman Beach http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/up-to-55-trucks-a-day-as-murray-cso-storage-tank-digging-begins-across-from-lowman-beach/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/up-to-55-trucks-a-day-as-murray-cso-storage-tank-digging-begins-across-from-lowman-beach/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 00:05:03 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=286034

(PHOTO ADDED THURSDAY AFTERNOON, with digging & trucking under way)
Just got word that tomorrow is the start of the next major phase of the Murray Combined Sewer Overflow control project – digging the hole for the million-gallon tank across from Lowman Beach:

Now that the contractor has completed secant pile installation, crews will begin digging to clear space for the underground storage tank tomorrow, September 18, 2014. Excavation will be complete by early 2015. Crews will dig out an area about 80 feet deep and 100 feet wide. All of the material removed will be trucked off site. These activities will bring as many as 55 trucks per day to the project site to load and haul off material. Trucks will access the project site from 48th Avenue SW or Lincoln Park Way SW. Please be aware of traffic as trucks move in and out of the site.

Here’s the haul route:


(Click map for full-size, PDF version of map)
More info is on the county’s site for the project; if you have questions or concerns, there’s a 24-hour hotline at 206-205-9186.

P.S. As discussed in comments about an hour after we first published this, when the county announced these routes in February, they were labeled “primary” and “secondary” (see the map in the story we published back then). Now they are labeled entry/exit with a warning that either route might be used at any time by any truck, depending on a variety of conditions.

(added) Following further discussion – here’s the PDF including the county’s full announcement, also embedded below:

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