Category Archives: Business

Cleaning up in South Seattle

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Before

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After

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.

El Nino winters can bring floods – take steps to prepare your home and business

Woman in flooded busienss_pomeroyohiobusiness2005CroppedCan you imagine standing in your home or business and seeing even a few inches of water? Is there anything you could do ahead of time to make this scene a little less devastating?

You might want to try some of this advice that is useful for both homes and businesses.

Have you ever been in flood?  Had you tried to prepare?  Were any of your efforts useful?

Clean Marina Washington announces winners of the Clean Marina of the Year competition!

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Foss Marina, photographed by Puget Soundkeeper Alliance.

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.

Help Us Celebrate the Groundbreaking Work of Healthier Nail Salons

NailGardenLiz This weekend Seattle will celebrate the first certified Healthy Nail Salon – the Nail Garden in the Green Lake neighborhood, located at 7900 E. Greenlake Dr. N, #109, Seattle, WA 98103. The celebration starts at 11 am and goes until 2 pm. Be one of the first 30 visitors and receive a bottle of “3-free” polish (no toluene, formaldehyde or dibutyl phthalate) with this coupon. What’s special about Nail Garden that makes it a “certified” healthy nail salon? Those of us who have braved strong solvent odors for a manicure or pedicure will appreciate that this salon has a ventilation system that diverts the odors outside where they are quickly dissipated. This benefits not only the customers but the nail technicians who spend up to 8 to 10 hours a day breathing the vapors. It is not uncommon for nail technicians to experience dizziness, nausea and headaches. Long-term exposure can cause asthma, liver and kidney issues and memory problems. Most nail technicians are Vietnamese and have limited English proficiency. Like most of us, many are not aware of the problems exposure to these chemicals may cause. The Healthy Nail Salon project in King County partnered with salons to help them improve their ventilation systems, find safer chemicals and personal protective equipment. It also created a recognition program for those salons that safely handle, store and dispose of their chemicals. Come celebrate with Nail Garden this Saturday from 11 am to 2:00 pm. The celebration is more than just this nail salon’s commitment to protecting the health of their employees. It’s also a celebration of the groundbreaking work the Healthy Nail Salon project is doing in King County. The Healthy Nail Salon project is a part of the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County.

Hidden Hazards in the Arts – Free Workshop for Artists

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Find out how to identify safer chemicals, store art supplies safely and dispose of waste properly at a free

Hidden Hazards in the Arts workshop.

“We are here to help artists take out some of the risks of handling these chemicals, particularly since many of them have home studios.  We want to help artists protect their health and their families,” said Donna Galstad, a workshop presenter with the LHWMP Art Hazards project.

“I attended a Hidden Hazards in the Arts workshop, and there was so much information related to my personal art process and the materials I use —crucial new information to avoid exposure to toxins in the studio,” said Mark Calderon, a Seattle sculptor.

More information and register for this free workshop:

  • Tuesday, September 16
  • 6:30pm- 8:30pm
  • Shoreline City Hall – third floor classrooms
  • 17544 Midvale Ave N
  • Shoreline, WA 98133

Sponsored by the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County and the Shoreline-Lake Forest Park Arts Council.

Motorists: Fix leaks so you ‘Don’t Drip and Drive’

Drip and drive coupon

Get a coupon

Free visual leak inspections, repair discount

Motorists in King County can find an affordable fix and keep pollutants out of Puget Sound so that they “Don’t Drip and Drive.”

Every year, more than 7 million quarts of motor oil drips out of vehicles and onto streets and parking lots, much of it ending up in streams, lakes and Puget Sound.

The Don’t Drip and Drive campaign and participating repair shops across western Washington are offering car owners a free visual leak inspection – a diagnostic service valued at up to $80 – available now through September.

If the inspection reveals a problem, the car owner will receive a coupon for 10 percent off service to fix the problem (up to $50). Repair coupons expire Sept. 30, 2014. Find a list of participating locations, help to self-diagnose your leak, and print out a coupon at Don’t Drip and Drive.

“The main reason we have been participating in ‘Don’t Drip and Drive’ is that we are aware that fluids do leak from a surprising number of vehicles,” said Mike Lenci of Bellevue Auto Service & Electric, Inc., an EnviroStars-certified business. “We want to help to repair these leaks and give the motorist a substantial discount on the repair as well to help keep our water clean.”

Studies show that two-thirds of drivers will fix a leak within three months of finding it.

You can keep your car running great while protecting our local waters.

Nail salon to get first EnviroStars certification for healthier products, environment

My Nail Salon & Spa in Bellevue uses new ventilation system,

safer nail polish and thinners, to earn environmental recognition

By using safer products and improving air quality for employees and customers, a Bellevue nail salon has become the first to receive EnviroStars Program certification as a Healthy Nail Salon.

The salon uses only polishes that do not contain toluene, formaldehyde or dibutyl phthalate

The salon uses only polishes that do not contain toluene, formaldehyde or dibutyl phthalate

The public is invited to learn how My Nail Salon & Spa’s new products and techniques help keep people and the environment safe during a June 14 open house, from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., at 1645 140th Ave. NE, Bellevue.

Becoming an EnviroStars Healthy Nail Salon means safer products and a safer working environment – and perhaps a leg up on the competition. Nearly 90 percent of recently surveyed nail salon patrons in San Mateo County, Calif., said they would pay more for services in healthy nail salons.

To qualify as an EnviroStars Healthy Nail Salon, My Nail Salon & Spa agreed to use less-toxic nail polish that does not contain the “toxic trio” of toluene, formaldehyde or dibutyl phthalate, as well as polish thinners that don’t contain hazardous solvents.

Additionally, the salon’s state-of-the-art ventilation pulls airborne chemicals away from the nail technicians and clients, and brings in fresh air.

Salons can earn EnviroStars certification by using less toxic products or by safer practices, such as:

  • Using only nail polishes that do not contain toluene, formaldehyde or dibutyl phthalate;
  • Using polish thinners that do not contain hazardous solvents;
  • Requiring employees to wear safety gloves;
  • Using local ventilation at each nail salon table;
  • Bringing fresh air into the salon with a ventilation system; and
  • Safely storing chemicals.
  • Safely dispose of hazardous waste
  • Train all employees to use the safer salons practices

The Healthy Nail Salon project started in 2007 with a community partner, the Environmental Coalition of South Seattle (ECOSS), a local non-profit group with strong connections to the Vietnamese community.

Those connections matter: Of the estimated 430 nail salons in King County, more than 80 percent are owned and operated by Vietnamese-speaking people. Before this project began, there wasscant information available in Vietnamese on safe chemical handling and other safety issues related to nail salon operations.

Employees with the Local Hazardous Waste Program in King County partnered with ECOSS representatives in the Healthy Nail Salon project and created bilingual workshops, training materials and brochures for Vietnamese nail salon owners and workers.

Project partners also visited many of the 430 nail salons in King County to share information, best practices and offer tips on how salon operators can lower chemical exposure for workers and clients.

King County nail salons that become EnviroStars Certified Healthy Nail Salons gain access to many services, such as marketing, disposal and technical assistance.

For more information on how to become a Healthy Nail Salon contact Laurie Foster at 206-263-3061 or laurie.foster@kingcounty.gov.

Choosing a weed killer?

Roundup, a popular herbicide, could be linked to Parkinson’s, infertility and cancers

This is the time of year we start seeing brown strips of grass around gardens, driveways, fence lines and ditches. Often those dead areas of grass and weeds have been treated with Roundup, a popular weed killer.

Roundup is in the news this spring, and not for its weed killing uses. A new study suggests that heavy use of glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup, is linked to serious health problems and that evidence of glyphosate residues have been found on food. And a farmer was surprised to find wheat that has been genetically modified to withstand Roundup on his farm in Eastern Oregon.

But for the home gardener, there are ways to garden safely and with fewer pesticides.

First, the crop news

According to the East Oregonian news, Japan has put a hold on purchasing wheat until the mystery of how the GMO “Roundup Ready” wheat ended up in an Eastern Oregon wheat field and what that may mean for Western wheat growers. Read the update at www.eastoregonian.com/free/japan-cuts-imports-after-genetically-modified-wheat-found/article_bc01b15e-c957-11e2-ade1-001a4bcf887a.html.

An update on the growing alarm of Oregon wheat growers:  www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2013/05/genetically_modified_wheat_jap.html

The last time a crop was suspected of being contaminated with GMO strains was 2006. Genetically engineered rice was found in that year’s harvest and exporters lost millions as international markets refused imports. According to NPR, the wheat harvest is much larger.

For more on the mystery of the GMO wheat – whose experimental trials ended in 2001 in Oregon and all engineered crops were supposed to be completely removed, read on at www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/05/30/187103955/gmo-wheat-found-in-oregon-field-howd-it-get-there. How much of the GMO wheat may be in food supplies is uncertain.

And the health news

Residues of “glyphosate,” the chief ingredient in Roundup weed killer, have been found in food. A recent study suggests glyphosate may play a role in Parkinson’s, infertility and cancers. These health concerns are common to some pesticide exposures. From the National Institutes of Health news: www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_136278.html

Those residues enhance the damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and toxins in the environment to disrupt normal body functions and induce disease, according to the report, authored by Stephanie Seneff, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Anthony Samsel, a retired science consultant from Arthur D. Little, Inc. Samsel is a former private environmental government contractor as well as a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“Negative impact on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body,” the study says.

And the garden news: weed techniques don’t have to use Roundup

Find out more about glyphosate use and risks at Grow Smart Grow Safe – an online resource on pesticides at www.growsmartgrowsafe.org/.  You can also find techniques to tackle weeds without Roundup at www.growsmartgrowsafe.org/Weeds.aspx, and save yourself the worry, exposure and the wait for a final verdict on Roundup’s health impacts. Or call the experienced folks at the Garden Hotline at 206-633-0224 and find out how to garden with fewer chemicals.

Find safe garden products at www.growsmartgrowsafe.org/

Find safe garden products at http://www.growsmartgrowsafe.org

Tomorrow’s GoGreen Conference on green solutions for businesses

Stop by and visit our tables providing businesses large and small with information on hazardous materials and the EnviroStars sustainability  and recognition program.

GoGreen Conference

GoGreen Conference – stop by and visit us!

The GoGreen Conference happens tomorrow, Wednesday April 24th. The conference highlights innovative solutions and best practices for sustainability and business operations. Local governments will also be sharing their environmental efforts and vision.

The conference lineup includes:
– King County Executive, Dow Constantine will give the keynote talk on the County’s vision for a sustainable future.
– A mayor’s Forum with the mayors from Snoqualmie, Kirkland and Redmond to discuss economic, health and environmental challenges.
– A climate change panel of governmental, business, academic and other organization’s representatives discussing solutions, environmental and economic impacts.
– Demo workshops for new tools and technologies in supply chain mapping, data collections and analysis.
– Solutions labs on change and brand communications about sustainability.

Details: April 24, 2013 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Conference Center in downtown Seattle (8th Avenue and Pike Street). Tickets can be purchased online until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 23, and will be available in limited quantities on-site.

Washington State Ferry terminals earn highest EnviroStars rating

Ten state ferry terminals meet high environmental standards, including three terminals in King County

The Washington State Department of Transportation Washington State Ferries system (WSF) is celebrating a milestone achievement this Earth Day by earning the highest 5-Star certification from the EnviroStars Program at 10 ferry terminal facilities – including three in King County.

Washington State Ferry - best view in the house

Washington State Ferry – best view in the house

Their stewardship practices include purchasing least hazardous products, avoiding the use of pesticides, using Green Seal certified cleaning products, monitoring contract work to prevent pollution, protective storage, posting spill procedures and cleanup materials, and carefully managing wastes.

“I congratulate the ferry employees and terminal workers for their diligence to keep activities there safe and clean,” said EnviroStars Program Manager Laurel Tomchick.

“It’s not just activities on the water that can create a pollution problem – it’s shoreline and dock facilities, our roadways – everything that flows downhill and downriver. If your vehicle is leaking oil when you pull into a ferry line, it’s a problem for all of us.”

“The certification process was rigorous and thorough, and we learned some new things for our facilities, and for the vessels, too,” said Sheila Helgath, WSF Environmental Program Manager.

Certified EnviroStars Terminal facilities are: Anacortes, Bainbridge Island, Bremerton, Fauntleroy, Kingston, Point Defiance/Tahlequah, Port Townsend, Seattle, Southworth and Vashon.

Each terminal facility provided documentation of its practices, procedures and policies, and on-site visits were conducted for verification.

“We are proud to be among the EnviroStars certified organizations and businesses,” said WSDOT Assistant Secretary David Moseley. “WSF is deeply committed to being a good steward of the environment.”

Washington State Ferries terminals join a growing list of businesses that have earned the EnviroStars certification. There are more than 850 EnviroStars rated companies offering a variety of services from car repair, dentistry, dry cleaning, landscaping, and printing, to veterinary care – a great way to take care of your business while supporting environmentally sound businesses in your community.

EnviroStars are given a 2- to 5-Star rating, based on their demonstrated commitment to environmental sustainability in their business practices, and reducing hazardous materials and wastes.

Residents who want to support environmentally responsible businesses can look for the EnviroStars window decal and certification logo, find a business at www.envirostars.org, or call 1-877-220-7827 (STAR) for a directory.

The nationally recognized EnviroStars Program was created by the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County in 1995, and has expanded to include seven counties in the Puget Sound region and across Washington. It is implemented by health departments, source control and hazardous waste programs, and partner organizations. Information is available at www.envirostars.org.