Northwest Environmental Advocates will partner with Lewis and Clark University’s Earthrise Law Center to engage in strategic legal advocacy designed to fully bring the regulatory programs of the Clean Water Act to bear on water pollution in Puget Sound. The Clean Water Act requires a series of linked actions by state and federal regulators to ensure that pollution sources that discharge pursuant to permits do not cause or contribute to violations of the water quality standards that are established to protect human health, fish, and wildlife. The law also requires assurance that Washington will reduce the nonpoint runoff, from such sources as agriculture and logging, that is not regulated under permits. The overall goal of the project is to encourage Washington Department of Ecology and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to issue more stringent discharge permits and Total Maximum Daily Load requirements designed to more fully control major sources of pollution to Puget Sound, as well as increase regulatory scrutiny over agriculture, septic systems, and logging. A significant focus of the project is to address nutrient pollution, which is causing water quality problems in Puget Sound such as low dissolved oxygen, massive algal blooms, and food web changes. Focusing on nutrient pollution is also strategic because nutrient treatment technology also removes many regulated and unregulated toxic pollutants, such as pharmaceuticals and personal care products. Scientists have estimated the annual discharge of this latter category of drugs and chemicals at 96,000 pounds. A secondary focus will be on temperature in order to promote the use of sufficiently protective riparian buffers control polluted runoff.
Northwest Environmental Advocates
Advocacy to Reduce Nutrient, Temperature, and Toxic Pollution in Puget Sound
Puget Sound Stewardship and Mitigation Fund, 2019