Dozens of cities surrounding Puget Sound should encourage
more eco-friendly development that better controls toxic stormwater, but they
don’t need rules as stringent as big cities’, such as Seattle and Tacoma’s,
according to a new state ruling.
The Seattle Times reports that a new state ruling for
cities surrounding Puget Sound encourages eco-friendly development that better
controls toxic stormwater, but they don’t need to meet the same standard as
The board, known as the Pollution Control Hearings
Board, had previously endorsed environmentalists’ demands for tougher
stormwater rules for Seattle, Tacoma, King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties.
According to the Pollution Control Hearings Board, ecology made a mistake in not
requiring cities and counties to move deliberately toward adopting standards to
reduce or eliminate surface water runoff.
In a decision issued in September 2008, the board decided
that the largest cities and counties needed to require low-impact methods
whenever site conditions allow.
In this most recent decision, the board said smaller
jurisdictions need to “identify barriers to implementation” of low-impact
development, and to set up a time schedule to take action to remove those
The hearings board recognized that big cities and counties
have more resources to develop and enforce sophisticated stormwater programs,
including requirements for low-impact development wherever feasible.
In its new ruling, the board said smaller cities don’t have
to mandate such techniques from developers.
The latest decision affects Kitsap, Thurston, Skagit,
Whatcom, and Cowlitz counties, along with 80 cities ranging from 3,000 people to
more than 100,000—including Bremerton, Bainbridge Island, Poulsbo, and Port
Polluted stormwater is the major source of toxic
contamination in Puget Sound, flushing in millions of gallons of oil and other
chemicals from roads and sidewalks.
decision (PDF 296 kb) from the hearing board’s Web site.