Wash. rules to spell out strategies to curb runoff

A "rain garden" is shown in a residential area of Puyallup, Wash., Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011. Puyallup has installed more than 50 rain gardens to soak up rain and stormwater runoff as a strategy to keep rainwater from washing pollutants into rivers and Puget Sound. Retrieved from: www.seattlepi.com

“SEATTLE (AP) — The city of Puyallup has installed dozens of neighborhood rain gardens to prevent rain from washing pollutants into nearby waterways. Mount Vernon used a type of asphalt that allows rainwater to seep into the ground when it built a new walkway. And Seattle has used roofs planted with vegetation to reduce runoff.

Washington cities and counties have occasionally turned to eco-friendly strategies to keep rain from carrying grease, metals and other toxic pollutants into rivers, lakes and Puget Sound. But low-impact methods, such as using vegetation and cisterns to slow runoff, may soon be a requirement every time someone builds a new development or redevelops property in Western Washington.

State environmental regulators released draft rules Wednesday that spell out exactly how governments should incorporate the strategies to control polluted runoff that can harm fish and water quality.

The draft rules attempt to strike a balance between tackling stormwater pollution while recognizing that local governments are strapped for resources, Ecology Director Ted Sturdevant said Wednesday.

The state was ordered to consider greener strategies by the state Pollution Control Hearings Board after environmentalists sued. The board mandated low-impact methods for the most populous areas in Western Washington. The board also said the state needed to do more to ensure low-impact methods were used in smaller cities in the region.”

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