Lead in drinking water has been all over the news in recent months. Should we be concerned about lead poisoning in King County?
In King County, water is not a common source for lead. Lead in drinking water usually comes from pipes or fittings. These are five things to know about lead in drinking water.
Lead from paint is the most common and dangerous source of exposure. Lead was added to house paint before it was banned in residential paint in 1978, so if your home was built before then, you may have paint with lead in it where you live. This is a concern because as old paint cracks and peels, it creates dangerous dust.
Children under six are most at risk for lead poisoning because their bodies are developing. If you are concerned that your child may have been exposed to lead, talk with your health care provider. The only way to know for sure if a person has been exposed to lead is to do a blood test.
How can you keep your family safer and reduce exposure to lead paint?
- Reduce your exposure to possible lead dust in your home by dusting with a damp cloth and using a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
- Keep children away from peeling paint. Lead tastes sweet and children have been known to eat paint flakes.
- If you are remodeling the home you own and live in, and it was built before 1978, follow safe remodeling practices to reduce exposure. If you hire someone, they must be a lead certified contractor.
Another source of lead in our area is contaminated soil. Lead is in soil due to many years of lead in gasoline and years of contamination by regional smelters. Reduce your family’s exposure to lead in soil:
- Remove shoes before going inside
- Cover bare patches in your yard with ground cover
- Keep pets clean.
If you have questions call staff at our Household Hazards Line at 206-296-4692, Monday to Friday, except holidays, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
You can’t watch children all the time. So how can you keep them safer?
If you have unwanted hazardous products you could get them out of your home and away from curious hands.
How can you tell which products under the sink or in the closet are hazardous?
Look on the label. If you see the words DANGER or POISON, that means the product is very harmful.
If you see the words CAUTION or WARNING, that means the products is somewhat harmful.
And if you don’t see CAUTION, WARNING, DANGER OR POISON on the product label, that means the product is safer to use.
So if you want to get rid of hazardous products you don’t want, what do you do?
- You aren’t supposed to throw them in the trash.
- Instead, take them to a disposal site, at no cost.
Getting rid of hazardous products you no longer use can help keep you and your family safer.
Is this the right time to plant tomatoes? Where can I find good soil for my raised beds? How can I win my battle with slugs?
Home gardeners and landscape professionals can get expert advice by calling the Garden Hotline at 206-633-0224, Monday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Want to take a class, come to an event or watch a video? Or do you prefer to email your questions? Visit www.GardenHotline.org
Helpful staff offer advice managing plant pests, encouraging helpful insects, reducing water use, managing rain water, planting for wildlife, building soil, mulching, chemical-free gardening, natural lawn care and much more.
Would you rather let others do the work for you? Find an environmentally responsible landscaper by searching the database at www.EnviroStars.org
Let us help you have a happy spring season!
What if there was a convenient way to deal with that oil-based paint that you’re currently taking to a hazardous waste facility or that latex paint that you’re drying out before putting in the garbage can?
Steve Dearborn, chief executive of Miller Paint, is advocating for that to happen. In a recent op-ed in The Olympian, he encourages the state legislature to pass the paint stewardship bill which would create a statewide paint collection program for the recycling or proper disposal of unwanted paint.
He cites among the benefits of such a program an end to the waste of leftover paint – a valuable resource for which a market exists. His Miller Paint customers each year purchase about 75,000 gallons of recycled latex paint made and sold in Oregon by Metro Paint.
He also calls attention to the benefits to the consumer and the environment. Residents and businesses with unused paint could, under this legislation, take it to a participating retail site. Such a program would help keep paint from being improperly disposed and possibly contaminating the land or waterways.
The bill, which was introduced in the legislature in January 2015, must come up for a vote in the House before the February 17, 2016 cut-off date.
What did it take to get this auto dismantling business to stop storing hundreds of gallons of hazardous wastes outside with no protection from the elements?
Stepping onto this site you wouldn’t know from the dark stains of automotive fluids on the property, the potential fire hazard of the 500 gallons of used oil that was stored near an electrical panel and the storm water that ran off the property onto neighboring sites, that nine different environmental and health agencies had separately visited this site to give technical, non-enforcement help.
Despite the best efforts of various agencies, the business owner continued to ignore their advice.
Fortunately, this story has a happy ending. The numerous agencies started coordinating with each other through the Interagency Compliance Team (ICT). ICT works with the various agencies to develop a strategy and then starts implementing interventions. In this case, the Seattle Fire Department, Seattle Public Utilities and OSHA issued citations; Public Health – Seattle & King County issued a Notice of Violation and Notice and Order to the property owner.
The result? Nine hundred gallons of hazardous waste were removed from the property. The business owner stopped operating his business and cleaned up the property. Storm water pollution and environmental impacts to neighboring properties also stopped as did the continued chemical exposures to the community and the environment from the property.
Under the umbrella of ICT, representatives from nine agencies coordinated with the business and the property owner to get the site cleaned up: the Washington State Patrol, Seattle Fire, King County Storm Water, King County Industrial Waste, Department of Ecology, Public Health – Seattle & King County, Seattle Public Utilities, Department of Ecology, Division of Occupational Safety & Health (OSHA), and the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County.
Thanks to these agencies for working together to keep businesses on track so we can all breathe easier.
You might want to try some of this advice that is useful for both homes and businesses.
- Take care of chemical hazards at home or in your business before a flood
- Register to receive King County flood alerts
- Consider using sandbags
- Keep street drains free of debris
- Don’t drive through standing water
- See more preparation tips including links to find out if you are in a flood plain
Have you ever been in flood? Had you tried to prepare? Were any of your efforts useful?
From gardening without space to exploring red wiggler worms, have hands-on fun while learning how to garden the natural way in these free classes at Highlands Neighborhood Center on 800 Edmonds Ave NE in Renton in September and October, 2015. Though there is no cost, please register.
Fall Gardening for Spring Beauty
Wednesday, September 23, 7 – 8:45PM
- Prepare your garden now and save yourself time next year. Lean how to build healthy soils, proper weeding techniques, how to prune and more.
Secrets to Companion Planting
Wednesday, September 30, 7 – 8:45PM
- Discover which plants grow best together to improve your garden’s health rather than competing for resources.
Worms on Wheels for Kids
Saturday, October 10, 10:30AM – 12:30PM
- Explore composting and the importance of worms with Seattle Tilth’s Worms on Wheels!
Vertical Gardening: Up, Up & Out of the Way!
Saturday, October 10, 10:45AM – 12:30PM
- No yard or little space? Find out how to grow vertical gardens with vegetables, fruits and flowers that thrive in our climate and take little soil.
Classes sponsored by the City of Renton and the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program.
The Clean Marina program is proud to announce the winners of the first ever Clean Marina of the Year competition! Shilshole Bay Marina has won in the Public Ports Category and Foss Harbor Marina in the Private Marina Category. Both facilities are recognized for their exemplary leadership in pollution prevention and environmental protection.
Foss Harbor Marina switched to paperless billing and correspondence. It also eliminated plastic and Styrofoam cups and transitioned to high-efficiency bulbs and fixtures to reduce energy consumption. Foss is very active in the local community working with organizations such as Citizens for a Healthy Bay and Tacoma Waterfront Association. Marina staff recently leveraged Clean Vessel Act (CVA) funds from WA State Parks to purchase and operate a sewage pumpout boat. This provides free and convenient slip-side sewage disposal for tenants.
Shilshole Bay Marina is recognized for their work promoting Required Management Practices among their 1400 tenants, hosting an oil spill response trailer and developing a prioritized Environmental Management System to take a comprehensive look at potential environmental hazards. Tracy McKendry, Sr. Manager of Recreational Boating accepted the award on behalf of Shilshole saying, “We are extremely proud of our marina team and community. It takes creativity, persistence and cooperation to continually work towards improving our environmental practices. We are lucky to have such great partners in our environmental endeavors and would like to thank them for their continuing support.”
With over 70 Certified Clean Marinas in Washington State, this network of dedicated business owners and marine professionals are at the forefront of the exciting and innovative work being done to teach a new generation of boaters about how to care for and steward the marine environment for the future.
In 2014, the Program provided direct service to 90,000 people who visited our hazardous waste collection facilities, attended our trainings and had an Environmental Investigator visit their business. It provided indirect service to over 200,000 people through our Website and Facebook page. Read the full report.
The Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County is a multijurisdictional program whose mission is to reduce the threat posed by the production, use, storage and disposal of hazardous materials, thereby protecting public health and environmental quality. Program partners include the Seattle Public Utilities, King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, Public Health – Seattle & King County, and cities and tribes in King County.