Promote clean water with green infrastructure
Reduce water pollution and promote clean waterways in Washington with green infrastructure in building and design. Lawmakers in Olympia must not stall efforts already under way to move ahead.
Seattle Times Editorial
CLEANING up Puget Sound and other Washington waterways is an enormous task that requires money and focused, sustained effort.
One basic goal is not to compound pollution problems in the meantime and drive up costs. Lawmakers in Olympia flirted with that option, and the threat remains.
The state Department of Ecology is drafting permits and writing rules to put elements of Low Impact Development (LID) in place across the state. Pollution in stormwater runoff is a hazard for all waterways.
Municipalities attempted via House Bill 2641 and companion legislation to resist the permits and make their implementation voluntary. That would be an expensive mistake over time.
The state Pollution Control Hearings Board ordered Ecology to follow federal and state rules in 2008. Even as the directives are drafted, the largest cities and counties get to phase in the requirements over the next couple of years, and smaller communities have even more time.
Enough with the foot dragging. LID projects are designed to stop toxic pollution from getting into storm drains and waterways by emphasizing landscaping, engineering and architectural design. These are small-scale changes that play an important role in reducing flooding and protecting property.
Using permeable paving, planting trees and employing green roofs, water reuse and rain gardens to reduce runoff are techniques that work. They can also save money and produce attractive results for homeowners and homebuilders.
For example, eliminating the need for stormwater detention in larger developments might mean extra lots to build on and sell.
Preventing pollution is cheaper than the remedial efforts to clean up later. Legislators ought to understand and value that, especially in these times.