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?
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.
The Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County fulfills local government responsibilities under state law[i] for managing hazardous waste. We provide for safe disposal of hazardous materials and wastes from residents and businesses that produce small amounts of hazardous waste in King County, as well as a range of services and prevention programs to reduce exposure and risk from hazardous waste.The Program is funded by local hazardous waste fees on solid waste (garbage) and sewer accounts, and nominal fees charged at transfer stations. Monthly local hazardous waste fees are a small part of your garbage bill; your solid waste hauler collects them and sends them to the Program. This monthly fee currently is $1.08 for residents and $11.24 for businesses[ii].
We are putting forth a proposal to the Board of Health for consideration in April — related to the way local hazardous waste fees are assessed to business and multi-family solid waste accounts. Currently, these fees on solid waste accounts are assessed as a flat rate. Under the pending proposal, the fees on businesses and multi-family[iii] accounts would change to a volume-basis, with a three-tiered rate. This change would affect only business and multi-family accounts—it would not affect single family accounts. This change does not affect the fees charged for solid waste collections services.
The King County Board of Health (Board) sets the Program’s rates and will be considering this proposal at their April meeting. If the proposal is adopted, changes to the rates would become effective January 1, 2015.
Why the proposed change? The Program is interested in making its rates fairer. The current system charges all business ratepayers the same, regardless of the volume of solid waste they generate. The proposed change would reduce costs for entities that generate less solid waste, shifting those costs to entities that generate larger volumes. The proposal also changes fees for multi-family complexes, making those rates consistent across the County. Currently, multi-family ratepayers in Seattle pay the local hazardous waste residential rate, while those in other areas of the County pay the business rate. Under the proposed system, all multi-family ratepayers would pay the business rates, based on the tier system described above.
To learn more about Local Hazardous Waste Program services, visit www.lhwmp.org.
People want to know, are you officially certified?
Businesses in the Pacific Northwest are in the right place to catch the attention and loyal patronage of customers in our region.
People want to support environmentally-responsible businesses. Residents, employees, and business owners place a high value on natural resources and healthy, active lifestyles as part of our quality of life in Washington State. Eighty percent of the residents surveyed across five Puget Sound area counties said that they prefer to support environmentally-minded businesses, like EnviroStars.
With all the talk of “green-washing” though, potential customers have learned to be skeptical. EnviroStars certification provides an objective third-party assessment of businesses and is a certification people can trust. The EnviroStars brand has been building credibility and transparency into its certification since 1995.
Certified businesses are recognized with a 2- to 5-Star rating, and can use the EnviroStars logo to show they’ve had our third party assessment. This provides an easy way for the public to identify and support local businesses doing their part for the environment.
The EnviroStars window decal, logo, and certificate help you communicate your commitment to being environmentally responsible. The more proactive your efforts to reduce hazardous materials and waste and to incorporate best practices, the more benefits you can receive:
• Website listings and links
• Highlights in radio advertisements
• Profiles in local newspapers
• Achievement award nominations
• Promotion at community and trade events
There are more than 800 EnviroStars certified businesses in cities throughout the region – from Seattle to Spokane. Certification is provided by Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Pierce, Skagit, Spokane and Whatcom counties.
See our website at http://www.envirostars.org for more information.
Take a look at the updated King County Rural Services Directory to find many helpful and practical services. Whether your interest is business, hazardous waste, groundwater wells, septic, recycling or something else, you’re likely to find it here. http://your.kingcounty.gov/dnrp/library/archive-documents/dnrp/pdf/rural-directory.pdf