I’ve completed the seventh story package in a 10-part series
examining the Puget Sound ecosystem, with a special focus on
indicators of ecological health. We’re calling the project “Taking
the Pulse of Puget Sound.”
The latest stories, which ran Sunday and Monday, addressed
freshwater quality. The opening piece looked at the huge amounts of
pollution coming into our streams via stormwater — one of the
highest priorities for cleanup, yet one of the most difficult to
As the Puget Sound Partnership’s executive director Sheida
Sahandy told me, industrial discharges are still a concern, but
they are no longer the biggest problem.
“Now we’re dealing with stormwater, which is trickling in here
and trickling in there, and everybody has a finger in it,” she
Solutions are many, and the goal should be to shut off pollution
at the source, beginning with removing dangerous chemicals from
everyday products. Since the sources of pollution are numerous,
everyone needs to play a part — from cleaning up pet wastes to
properly using of household chemicals to reducing the use of lawn
and garden pesticides. (Those who don’t subscribe to the Kitsap Sun
may still find value in the graphics on the
Freshwater Quality page.)
I led off the first story by showing the increased efforts by
city and county governments to better manage their stormwater
systems, such as pumping out their catch basins, sweeping their
streets and converting outdated stormwater ponds into filtration
systems, commonly known as “rain gardens.”
I also introduced readers to the Washington Stormwater
Center, a research facility in Puyallup where scientists are
testing the effectiveness of rain gardens and pervious pavement.
Jenifer McIntyre, a Washington State University researcher, has
demonstrated that stormwater from highway runoff is 100 percent
effective at killing adult coho salmon. Yet that same stormwater
filtered through soil — such as in a rain garden — is cleaned up
enough that fish can survive, apparently unaffected.
Monday’s story addressed the increasing use of benthic
invertebrates — water bugs — to measure the health of streams. The
bugs are doing double duty, since they are both a measurement of
stream quality and a critical part of the food web for the
Some 27 local governments and organizations are involved in
collecting data on benthic invertebrates from about 850 stream
locations throughout Puget Sound. For results, check out Puget Sound Stream
When I began this project on freshwater quality several weeks
ago, I thought it was going to be easier than some of the other
story packages I have done, such as on fish, birds and marine
mammals. If anything, this issue is more complex. I’ll admit that
I’ve neglected this blog while pursuing these issues, and soon I
will be moving into the issue of freshwater quantity.
Overall, I must say that I’ve been impressed by the many people
dedicated to finding answers to the mysterious problems brought on
by pollution and by those finding solutions even before the
questions are fully identified.
I can’t begin to estimate the number of times I’ve typed “Kitsap
County Surface and Stormwater Management Program” over the past 20
years in stories about pollution in Kitsap County and the need to
clean up local waterways.
But my typing fingers are already offering thanks for a new,
shorter name, which will no doubt save some ink as well.
We won’t be talking about the “swim program” anymore when trying
to pronounce the abbreviation, SSWM. I hope we won’t need any
abbreviation for the new name, which is “Clean Water Kitsap.”
“Clean Water Kitsap” nicely wraps up the goals and image of the
long-running program with just three words. It’s a good name with
an up-to-date style.
This is the program that collects stormwater fees from
properties in unincorporated Kitsap County and uses the money to
track down pollution, reduce stormwater and help people do the
right thing. The spirit of the program is captured in a new video
you can see on this page.
Four agencies receive portions of the stormwater money and
coordinate their efforts to clean up our local waters. Here is a
short summary of what they do:
Kitsap County Public Works (Stormwater
Program): Maintenance of public stormwater systems,
inspection of private systems, upgrades to regional systems, street
sweeping, watershed monitoring and public education.
Kitsap Public Health District: Countywide
monitoring of streams, lakes and bays; pollution identification and
correction programs; pollution advisories; public-health
investigations; and septic system education.
Kitsap Conservation District: Farm-management
assistance and planning; rain garden and green infrastructure
grants and assistance; and backyard habitat grants.
WSU Kitsap Extension: Training for stream
stewards, beach watchers and rain garden professionals; and
coordination of various volunteer projects.
I wrote about the newly approved name Clean Water Kitsap in
Sun, Nov. 29, 2013, subscription), when officials began
planning on how they would roll out the new name and logo. Some
people wanted to start using the name right away, but organizers
kept a lid on it.
As of today, the new name is official and will be used with a
new logo. A new website is coming.
I wrote a brief story for tomorrow’s newspaper (Kitsap Sun, May
22), but I could not attend today’s dedication because of other
From a news release from the county, we get these quotes:
Kitsap County Commissioner Linda
“It seems fitting that we are making this change in 2014, at the
20-year mark of this innovative and nationally-recognized program.
It is built upon partnerships between agencies, volunteers and
Kitsap County Commissioner Rob Gelder:
“Our community may not know what their stormwater fees pay for or
think about stormwater management every day. But, Kitsap residents
benefit every day – rain or shine.”
The site of the dedication was an overhauled stormwater pond
north of Silverdale. The pond, with 2,000 young plants, will
increase stormwater storage by 20 percent and provide habitat for
birds and other wildlife.
Chris May, manager of the county’s Stormwater Program,
speaking of the revamped pond :
“Thanks to the Public Works crews for transforming this ‘water
prison’ to a water quality improvement project for Clear Creek and
a community amenity. As we move to greener stormwater solutions,
it’s facilities like this that will help restore our streams and
We just completed another group of stories in the ongoing series
we’re calling “Taking the Pulse of Puget Sound.” This latest story
package is about
marine water quality and marine sediments. (The stories
themselves require a subscription.)
For all my years of environmental reporting, I have to say that
I’ve never really understood the meaning of water quality. Keeping
the water free of chemicals and fecal bacteria is one thing. Safe
levels of oxygen, temperature, acidity and suspended sediment are
other important factors.
But in the real world, you never find ideal conditions. You take
what you get: physical conditions dictated by weather, climate and
bathymetry; a strange brew of toxic chemicals; and a mix of
nutrients and organic material, all drifting through complex cycles
of life and death.
Water quality means nothing without the context of living
things. More than 1,000 species of tiny organisms live in or on the
mud at the bottom of Puget Sound. In many areas, sensitive species
have disappeared. We are left with those that can tolerate harsher
conditions. Why are they dying off? What can be done about it?
Some plankton species are becoming more dominant, and the
effects on the food web are unknown. When water quality is poor,
Jellyfish are displacing forage fish, disrupting the food supply
for larger fish.
We know that toxic chemicals are spilling into Puget Sound in
stormwater and getting into the food web, first touching the
tiniest organisms and eventually causing havoc for fish, marine
mammals and humans. Compounds that mimic hormones are affecting
growth, reproduction and survival for a myriad of species. Because
of biomagnification, some chemicals are having serious effects at
concentrations that could not be measured until recently.
Puget Sound can’t cleanse itself by flushing its chemicals and
waste out to sea, as most bays do. Puget Sound is long and narrow
and deep, and the exchange of water takes a long time. Most of the
bad stuff floating in the water just sloshes back and forth with
the daily tides.
We can’t forget that some of the good stuff floating around are
microscopic plants that feed the food web, along with a variety of
larvae that will grow into fish, shellfish and many other
creatures. But many of these planktonic life forms are vulnerable
to chemicals, which can reduce their ability to survive against
predators, tipping the balance in unknown ways.
Understanding water quality is not so much about measuring what
is in the water as understanding the effects on living things.
Which species are missing from a given area of Puget Sound, and
what killed them off?
Biological monitoring has been around for a long time, but we
may be entering a new phase of exploration in which we begin to
connect the dots between what takes place on the land, how
chemicals and nutrients get into the water, and what that means for
every creature struggling to survive.
We have some brilliant people working on this problem in the
Puget Sound region. I would like to thank everyone who has helped
me gain a better understanding of these issues, as I attempt to
explain these complexities in my stories.
While I was looking into the sediment story, Maggie Dutch of
Ecology’s sediment monitoring team introduced me to a huge number
of benthic invertebrates. In a blog she calls
“Eyes Under Puget Sound,” she talks about the monitoring
program and offers a slideshow of some of the bottom creatures. See
When it comes to ecosystem restoration, I love it when we can
see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s rare when we have a
chance to say that restoration is nearing completion, since we know
that habitat work continues on and on, seemingly without end, in
many areas of Puget Sound.
So let us anticipate a celebration when Kitsap County’s regional
stormwater projects are completed, when all the deadly ghost nets
have been removed from the shallow waters of Puget Sound, and when
there are no more creosote pilings left on state tidelands.
Of course, the light at the end of the tunnel may be a mirage,
but let’s not go there quite yet.
Kitsap regional ponds
Kitsap County has been collecting a Surface and Stormwater
Management Fee from residents in unincorporated areas and using
some of that money to leverage state and federal stormwater grants.
The fee is currently $73.50, but it will rise to $78 in 2014, $82
in 2015, $86.50 in 2016, $91 in 2017 and $96 in 2018. See
Kitsap Sun, Nov. 27, 2012.
The good news is that the effort to retrofit old, outmoded
stormwater systems is nearing completion, with remaining projects
either in design or nearing the design phase. Check out the Kitsap
County Public Works Capital
Facilities Program for a list of completed projects with maps
as well as proposed projects with maps. As the documents show, the
regional retrofits are on their way to completion.
So what are the sources of future stormwater problems? The
answer is roads, and the problem is enormous. Still, the county has
begun to address the issue with a pilot project that could become a
model for other counties throughout Puget Sound. Please read my
“New strategies will address road runoff” (subscription) to see
how the county intends to move forward.
Ghost nets and crab pots
Earlier this year, the Legislature provided $3.5 million to
complete the removal of derelict fishing gear that keeps on killing
in waters less than 105 feet deep. The work is to be done before
the end of 2015.
Phil Anderson, director of the Washington Department of Fish and
Wildlife, was excited about the prospect. Here’s what he said in a
“Working in conjunction with our partners at Northwest Straits
and in the State Legislature, we have made enormous strides toward
eliminating the risks posed to fish and wildlife by derelict
fishing gear. This is difficult work, and it requires a real
commitment from everyone to get it done. We look forward to
celebrating the next milestone in 2015.”
The most amazing statistic I found on this topic involved the
number of animals trapped by ghost nets. According to one
predictive model, if all the nets had been left alone to keep
fishing, they could be killing 3.2 million animals each year.
Washington Department of Natural Resources hasn’t slowed down in
its effort to remove old creosote pilings and docks. The structures
can be toxic to marine life, obstruct navigation and snag fishing
gear. By 2015, the total bill for removing such debris is expected
to reach $13 million.
Nobody is sure how much it will cost to remove the last of the
creosote materials from state lands, but DNR officials have
inventoried the various sites and expect to come up with a final
priority list over the next six months. Some pilings on privately
owned land may be a higher priority for the ecosystem, and
officials are trying to decide how to address those sites. Of
course, nobody can tackle pilings on private lands without working
through the property owners.
Download a spreadsheet of the
work completed so far (PDF 53 kb), which involves a focus on 40
sites throughout Puget Sound. Altogether, the projects removed
about 11,000 pilings plus about 250,000 square feet of “overwater
structures,” such as docks.
I used to feel happy for teenagers who got together on a weekend
to wash cars and raise money for a good cause. I would often take
time to drive in, get my car washed and praise the teens for their
efforts. And I would give them a nice tip.
Now, when I see a charity carwash, I just want to know where the
water is going. If the water is washing into a storm drain that
spills into a stream, I can’t help but wonder if these kids care
about fish and wildlife, or if they might not have gotten the
message about the harm caused by dirty, soapy water.
Sometimes, being an environmental reporter causes one to think a
little too much about the environment. Sure, carwashes probably are
not going to kill everything in sight. But they are just another
insult from a human society that has not yet learned how to protect
the living Earth.
The federal Clean Water Act of 1972 declared that it was illegal
to discharge polluted water into any natural stream or waterway. At
the time, industrial discharges were so severe that soap and heavy
metals from carwashes were insignificant. But now, after 40 years,
those industrial point sources are greatly diminished, and
researchers are learning that the greatest threat to water quality
today comes from thousands of small sources.
Gov. Jay Inslee has declared this month “Puget Sound Starts Here
Month,” according to a
press release issued by the Puget Sound Partnership. The idea
is for each of us to pay attention to how we affect Puget
Here’s the message from Marc Daily, the partnership’s interim
“It’s not just about the pipe coming out of the factory anymore.
Today, stormwater runoff is the single largest contributor to our
water quality problems. That pollution comes from our cars and how
we wash them, from the chemicals we put on our lawns, and from not
picking up after our pets. When it rains, bacteria and toxic
chemicals from these and other sources end up in our local
waterways. That’s a problem.”
One way to keep charity car washes alive is to capture the wash
water and direct it into a toilet or sink that connects to a
municipal sewer system, not a septic system.
King County provides instructions for making and using a
carwash kit to handle the water.
People can also sell tickets to commercial carwashes, which is
the method being pushed by most water-quality programs across the
nation. It’s not just here that carwashes are getting increasing
Like many people, I feel a tinge of sadness that carwashes will
probably die out. Like many harmful traditions, such as burning
garbage and smoking, it might be time to give this one up.
Still, if you want to operate a weekend car wash, get yourself a
carwash kit to deal with the wash water. Then stand on the corner
and wave signs promoting the fact that this is a clean and safe
carwash that protects the environment. If I see you, I’ll even stop
and donate to the cause.
I would like to share some comments from a story along with an
editorial cartoon, but first I want to talk about rain runoff from
streets, driveways, parking lots, yards and roofs — also known as
Stormwater is considered the greatest pollution threat to Puget
Sound, according to studies by the Washington Department of
Ecology. Of course, it is not the rain itself that causes the
problem. It is what gets picked up along the way: chemicals,
pesticides, fertilizers, bacteria … The list goes on.
Among the toxic chemicals, one of the biggest problems appears
to be motor oil from vehicles. Oil leaks out of cars as they are
moving down the road or while they are parked, then the rains wash
the pollution into the nearest ditch and eventually into Puget
Sound. By some estimates, that amounts to 7 million quarts of oil
Fortunately, not all the oil goes into the water. In Kitsap
County, for example, city and county street sweepers are driving
around, picking up some of the oil and other chemicals along with
soil particles on the roads. It is a proven effort to reduce
It would be better still if the oil didn’t get on the roads or
parking lots in the first place. But how do you get people to fix
the oil leaks in their cars?
An organization of local governments throughout the Puget Sound
region is hoping that awareness will provide one answer. More than
80 service shops in the region have agreed to check for oil leaks
at no cost or obligation to anyone. See my story in last
Tuesday’s Kitsap Sun.
It’s a pilot program with the clever title “Don’t Drip and
Drive.” It will run through April. The cost to the government is
the cost of advertising on the radio. A federal stormwater permit
issued to local governments throughout the region already requires
that they try to educate the public. Maybe this campaign will work;
maybe it won’t. I’ll report on the results after the program is
It seems like a simple approach to the problem. Even if people
know their cars are leaking, this program encourages them to think
about solutions. Why not get a free estimate to see what it would
cost to fix the leak? Maybe it won’t cost much. Maybe a few people
will find a way to address the problem sooner rather than later.
Maybe it will reduce wear on their vehicles.
If people become informed and are offered a free, no-obligations
solution, will it make a difference? I hope it does, because it
avoids the more heavy-handed ideas, such as requiring vehicle
inspections to obtain a car license.
If you read some of the comments at the end of the story,
however, you might think this pilot program is intruding into
people’s personal lives, not just asking them to check for oil
leaks. I realize that the comments section can be a dark place,
occupied by people who see a full glass as empty. But it is amusing
to see what bothers some people.
Here are the first few comments:
“I would guess that 99% of drivers park their vehicle in the
same spot in their driveway or garage every night. Do we need a
government program so they won’t have to look at that spot to see
if oil has dropped there?”
“I agree! Government is way outside of what they are
supposed to be. This is ridiculous and out of control.”
“Yep so they find a leak and what’s next??? Big time repair
bill and just in time to keep your wallet empty! Nice program! Big
goverment (sic) get out of my life will you???”
Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words, so I’d like to
share with you an editorial cartoon by Milt Priggee published in
Sunday’s Kitsap Sun.
Stormwater runoff from highways has been found to contain one or
more toxic compounds that can bring on sudden death in coho and
possibly other salmon as well.
Researchers from NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center first
noticed the problem in Seattle’s Longfellow Creek, which gets a
high volume of stormwater when it rains. Returning adult coho were
dying in the stream before they could spawn.
The problem was confirmed last fall at Grover’s Creek Hatchery
in North Kitsap, where coho were placed into tanks containing
highway runoff. Even after days of rain, the runoff was deadly,
causing the fish to become disoriented and die within hours. This
was not a disease process but a severe physiological disruption of
the salmon’s metabolism.
On Monday, I reported on these dramatic new findings made by Nat
Scholz and his colleagues at NOAA. Since then, the story was picked
up by the Associated Press and has appeared in dozens of
publications and news digests across the country.
I won’t go into detail about the study here, because most of
what I know is the story. See
Kitsap Sun, Jan. 21. Toward the end, I describe some actions
that Kitsap County officials are taking to keep highway dirt and
debris from getting into local streams, even before the deadly
compounds are identified.
I’ll continue to follow this story as scientists try to narrow
down the list of possible toxic compounds that are causing the
problem. The next step will be to take clues from tissues removed
from the dying salmon at Grover’s Creek Hatchery.
Naturally, these new findings raise many questions about how the
unknown chemicals affect the fish so rapidly and where these
compounds come from. Could it be from automobile tires or exhaust,
or could it be something in the road material itself? Are certain
chemicals acting synergistically to heighten the problem? Answering
these questions could make a significant difference for urban
streams and possibly for rural streams as well.
Personally, I can’t help wondering about the salmon that
survive. It’s not easy to find a coho stream where highway runoff
does not contribute something to the flow. If these compounds can
kill a fish in concentrations found in stormwater, what are they
doing to fish exposed to lower concentrations? Are the salmon that
survive as successful in finding a mate and conducting their
spawning rituals as salmon not exposed at all?
I’m not sure where this line of research will lead, but the
early implications appear to be quite serious. On an optimistic
note, if the compounds can be identified, Washington state has a
reputation for reducing or eliminating toxic chemicals at the
Lisa Stiffler of Sightline Institute does an excellent job
addressing common objections to permeable pavement in her latest
discussion about stormwater solutions. See
I’ve heard the excuses from contractors worried about the use
and maintenance of new paving materials. Lisa did some research and
tells us that when the concerns are valid, there may be ways to
work around the problems.
The fears she allays, including sources for more
Permeable pavement will clog and lose its porousness.
Holes in permeable pavement make it weaker.
Permeable pavement won’t work on high-speed, high-volume roads
such as highways.
Permeable pavement won’t work on sloped sites.
Permeable pavement will result in groundwater
Permeable pavement is prohibitively expensive.
Permeable pavement is more prone to rutting, breaking apart, or
It’s the water, or maybe it’s just the nasty stuff that’s in the
A new series of studies by federal researchers is delving into
the question of which pollutants in urban streams are killing coho
As I describe in a story in
today’s Kitsap Sun, the new studies involve coho returning to
the Suquamish Tribe’s Grovers Creek Hatchery in North Kitsap.
Of course, pollutants in streams are just one factor affecting
salmon in the Puget Sound region, where development continues to
alter streamflows and reduce vegetation, despite efforts to protect
and restore habitat. But pollution may play a role that has gone
largely unnoticed in some streams.
The new studies continue an investigation that began more than a
decade ago with the involvement of numerous agencies. By now, most
of us have heard about the effects of copper on salmon, but the
latest round of studies will look at the collection of pollutants
found in stormwater to see how they work together. It may be
possible to pinpoint the chemical concentrations that result in
critical physiological changes in salmon.
The latest work involves a team led by David Baldwin of NOAA
Fisheries and Steve Damm of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The
Suquamish Tribe is providing the fish, along with facilities and
For information on the ongoing effort to understand how toxic
chemicals affect salmon, review these pages on the website of the
Northwest Fisheries Science Center:
A page called “Coho Pre-spawn Mortality in Urban Streams”
presents a series of videos that show the advance of an apparent
neurological disease that first causes disorientation in coho
salmon and then death. The video is taken in Seattle’s Longfellow
Creek, an urban stream.
Water-quality leaders in the Washington Department of Ecology
and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency were quick to respond
yesterday to a
Seattle Times’ story, which begins:
“Seattle and King County are poised to spend more than $1.3
billion of ratepayer money on pollution-cleanup programs that won’t
even move the water-quality needle in Puget Sound.”
Yesterday’s story, by reporter Linda Mapes, is about combined
sewage overflows — something that Bremerton knows a little about,
having completed a cleanup program after 20 years and $50 million
in expenditures. See my story from
May 30 in the Kitsap Sun.
The premise of Linda’s story is that it might be better for
local governments to focus on reducing stormwater overall rather
trying to meet a 1988 state pollution standard focused on raw
sewage discharges. After all, the reasoning goes, stormwater
containing toxic chemicals may be worse for Puget Sound than
stormwater mixed with sewage.
The state requirement, by the way, limits discharges of raw
sewage in stormwater to one overflow per year, on average, for each
There is plenty of room for disagreement, as the Times’ story
points out. Christie True, director of King County Natural
Resources and Parks, stresses that upcoming CSO projects will
reduce the public’s exposure to untreated sewage. But Larry
Phillips, a member of the King County Council, says dollars spent
on CSO projects can’t be spent on buying habitat or attacking the
surface-runoff problem, which the Puget Sound Partnership has
deemed the region’s top priority.
Bill Ruckelshaus, the first administrator of the EPA and former
chairman of the Puget Sound Partnership’s Leadership Council, was
quoted as saying:
“This is just crazy; we don’t have unlimited funds in this
country, and whatever we do, we ought to spend where we get the
most bang for the buck … Cost-benefit has not been part of the
David Dicks, former executive director of the partnership and
now a member of the Leadership Council, said this:
“It’s just momentum. And what you learn in these things is you
can go in and scream and yell and be a revolutionary for a while,
but the institutional momentum of these laws has a lot of power,
and it is just dumb power. … What we need to do is turn off the
autopilot and see what makes sense here.”
Ecology and EPA officials took a stand in favor of the existing
rules for reducing sewage discharges. Both issued quick responses
to the Seattle Times article, writing on a blog called
From Kelly Susewind, manager of Ecology’s Water Quality
“Infrastructure investments are needed to address water
pollution caused by both CSO and stormwater discharges. In areas
served by combined systems, CSO projects provide solutions to both
CSO and stormwater pollution.
“The investments ratepayers make in their communities’ CSO
programs protect public health and Washington’s waters, two
principal missions of sewer and stormwater utilities. The success
of these projects advances the goals of our state and federal laws
to protect, clean up and preserve our waters for present and future
Adds Dennis McLerran, EPA’s regional administrator:
“Discharging large amounts of raw sewage to Puget Sound and Lake
Washington is simply not acceptable. That’s why EPA has worked
closely with the state, King County and Seattle over many years to
address sewage treatment and the ongoing problem of Combined Sewer
Overflow (CSO) pollution. With that work nearly completed, now is
not the time to lose our resolve to finish the job visionary
leaders in the Puget Sound region started some 40 years ago.”
Shellfish were not mentioned in this discussion — maybe because
it was focused on Seattle and King County, where industrial
pollution is a major problem. In Kitsap County, shellfish are worth
millions of dollars a year to the local and regional economy. For
Dyes Inlet, the reopening of shellfish beds probably would not have
happened except for a lawsuit that forced the city of Bremerton to
comply with the federal Clean Water Act on a strict time
Lisa Stiffler, former PI reporter who now works for Sightline
Institute, discussed Bremerton’s accomplishment with a focus on the
cost. See “How Bremerton cleaned its waters, and came to wonder
about the costs” in the online publication
A case can be made that shellfish beds in Dyes Inlet could have
been cleaned up enough to be reopened by spending just the first
$33 million, thereby saving the extra $17 million that it took to
bring the city into full compliance with federal law.
But state and county health officials have told me on many
occasions that Bremerton and Kitsap County, along with local
residents, must continue to work hard to keep the Dyes Inlet
shellfish beds open. Beaches in the inlet remain on the verge of
closure again, and population growth tends to exacerbate the
Kitsap County Health District is respected for its monitoring
and pollution-fighting program, but it does help to know that
release of raw sewage into the inlet has become a very rare
Lisa makes a good point when she says Bremerton would have saved
money if engineers would have known more about low-impact
development during the planning for CSO reductions. Infiltrating
rain water near the source (preferably before it runs off the
property) reduces the need to deal with stormwater flowing through
pipes. Keeping stormwater out of sewer lines by using LID
techniques effectively allows the pipes to carry all the sewage to
the treatment plants, even during heavy rains.
Bremerton has become a leader in LID. If city officials had
known 20 years ago what they know today, they probably would have
spent more on pervious pavement and rain gardens and less on
expensive piping networks. But it appears they did their best with
the knowledge they had — and LID has become a major part of ongoing
efforts to address stormwater.
Cities still working on CSO problems may find Bremerton’s
experience helpful. Keeping stormwater out of pipes is proving
effective, whether or not those pipes also contain sewage.