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City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor

SUBJECT: Video highlights City’s efforts to keep pollution out of Lower Duwamish

11/29/2012  4:00:00 PM
SPU Customer Service  (206) 684-3000

Video highlights City’s efforts to keep pollution out of Lower Duwamish
See Seattle’s pollution detectives at work protecting our river

SEATTLE — You can go underground, to the laboratory and attend a business inspection to witness how the City of Seattle is keeping pollution out of the Lower Duwamish Waterway (LDW) thanks to a new video and web site. Visit to witness the City’s pollution detectives at work.

The website includes a video showing storm drain sampling, laboratory analysis of samples, pipe cleaning, and a business inspection to keep contamination out of storm drains. It also shows how people can help control pollution in their everyday actions.

“Controlling pollution from pervasive sources like vehicle leaks and from everyday practices, like fertilizers and pesticides, is especially challenging,” says Seattle Public Utilities Director Ray Hoffman.

“The City of Seattle focuses on three strategies to reduce pollution - inspecting businesses to reduce the risk of releases, sampling to trace pollution to its source and cleaning contaminated sediment out of drainage pipes.”

Seattle launched a comprehensive pollution source control program in the LDW drainage basin as a result of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s 2001 listing of the LDW as a federal Superfund site slated for cleanup. Seattle has spent about $2.57 million and continues to spend about a half-million dollars each year tracing pollution sources and inspecting businesses. Here’s the tally so far:

  • More than 3,100 businesses inspected (King County was a partner in inspections 2003-2006)
  • More than 800 sediment samples collected from storm drains and combined sewers in the LDW basin and tested for contaminants.
  • More than 1,000 tons of contaminated material removed from storm drain pipes.

The City’s pollution source control program is part of a larger effort led by the Washington Department of Ecology, which is expected to release a comprehensive source control strategy for the LDW early next year. For more information, visit

The EPA is preparing to release a proposed cleanup plan for the Lower Duwamish Waterway early next year as well. The public is encouraged to comment on the plan when it is released. The City and partner agencies King County, the Port of Seattle and The Boeing Company invested $40 million in scientific studies of the Waterway ( to inform EPA’s cleanup decision. Visit EPA’s LDW website for more information,

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In addition to providing a reliable water supply to more than 1.3 million customers in the Seattle metropolitan area,  SPU provides essential sewer, drainage, solid waste and engineering services that safeguard public health, maintain the City’s infrastructure and protect, conserve and enhance the region's environmental resources.


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