Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Shifting from Gray to Green in the Pacific Northwest: Primer on Stormwater Pollution released by Sightline Institute

Stormwater does not match the traditional image of pollution. There are no factory smokestacks belching waste. Yet polluted stormwater packs a punch. Runoff from streets and highways is the number one source for petroleum and other toxic chemicals that wash into the Pacific Northwest's rivers, lakes, and bays.

“There is an urgency to act. The Washington Department of Ecology is working on rules that will require more use of low-impact development, and final regulations should be completed by summer 2012,” writes Lisa Stiffler in Curbing Polluted Stormwater and Creating Communities. Released by the Sightline Institute in March 2011, the report is a new version of a popular Washington State primer on stormwater pollution.

"The report looks at the challenges communities face, as well as smart, efficient solutions used to clean up waterways. The report includes examples of strategies in use by local communities in BC, Oregon, and Washington to shift from gray to green."

Cities throughout the Pacific Northwest are taking on the stormwater pollution problem by creating natural drainage systems--part of a movement called "low-impact development," or LID, in the United States; and Green Infrastructure in British Columbia. By replicating nature's way of managing rainfall, cleaning up stormwater is both less expensive and more efficient than conventional sewer systems.

News Release #2011-18
April 19, 2011

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