Port of Tacoma Settles Environmental Violations

MarineLink.com
Wednesday, August 07, 2013

The Port of Tacoma and two contractors have agreed to pay a $500,000 penalty and restore wetland habitat at an estimated cost of over $3 million to compensate for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act that damaged valuable Puget Sound wetlands, according to a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Justice. The proposed settlement has been filed with the court and the public will have 30 days to provide comments, which the court will consider before the settlement is approved.

In 2008, EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers discovered that the Port of Tacoma hired a contractor to raze vegetation and destroyed more than four acres of wetlands in Hylebos Marsh, an area that provided important wildlife habitat and enhanced Puget Sound water quality. The contractor performed the work at the direction of the Port of Tacoma, which had been working to eradicate vineyard snails from Hylebos Marsh with guidance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. An order from USDA stated that plowing and grading to deal with the invasive snail species was acceptable in non-wetland areas only.

At the time EPA and the Army Corps discovered the destroyed wetlands at Hylebos Marsh, the Port also disclosed that in 2006 it directed a contractor to dump over 4,000 cubic yards of urban fill materials—including soil, concrete and asphalt pieces—into nearly two acres of wetlands in an area called EB-1B, located east of Hylebos Marsh.

The Clean Water Act prohibits discharge of pollutants to the waters of the United States, including certain wetlands, except as authorized by a permit. The Port of Tacoma did not have required Clean Water Act permits to conduct work in the wetlands.

"We can’t afford to lose Puget Sound wetlands, especially where they are so scarce. Wetlands provide important water quality protection for Puget Sound and valuable habitat for fish and resident birds," said Dennis McLerran, Regional Administrator for EPA Region 10. "The permitting process exists to allow responsible development that also protects the environment."

Wetland and stream ecosystems play a critical role in Puget Sound water quality by breaking down and processing pollution flowing from upland areas. In addition, wetlands help prevent flooding in communities near Puget Sound and provide important habitat for fish and wildlife species, including endangered salmon species, migratory and resident birds, and small mammals.

Wetlands are particularly important in urban landscapes because they trap, store, and slowly release surface water runoff, precipitation, groundwater, and flood water. In doing so, they filter polluted runoff from pavement and buildings before it reaches waterways.

The wetlands impacted by the unpermitted activity were located adjacent to Commencement Bay, a waterway that has undergone a major EPA Superfund cleanup and an area that has lost most of its historic streams and wetlands.

The Port of Tacoma has agreed to spend an estimated $3 million on restoration projects. This work will restore wetlands on nearly ten acres of Port property, including stream ecosystem restoration and enhancements on nearby Upper Clear Creek where the Port will restore or improve a total of 28 acres of wetlands as part of a larger project. The restoration will protect Puget Sound water quality by restoring wetland functions, including breakdown and storage of harmful levels of nutrients and contaminants, and soil stabilization. The work will also restore habitat for birds, small mammals and fish. The first restoration project is scheduled to begin in August 2013.

The contractors associated with the settlement are Scarsella Brothers, Inc. and WAKA Group, Inc.

epa.gov
 

Maritime Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter January 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Legal

Shipping Firms Poised to Settle EU Probe

Fifteen container liner shipping companies "have offered to change their pricing practices to settle an EU antitrust probe and stave off possible fines," according

Liberia to Receive Preferential Flag Status with Respect to Chinese Tonnage Dues

Pursuant to the Maritime Transport Agreement signed between the Republic of Liberia and the People’s Republic of China on 3 November 2015, Liberia will be added

SBM Offshore: US Authorities Reopen Corruption Probe

SBM Offshore, the world's top oil production ship leasing company, said on Wednesday that U.S. authorities had re-opened an inquiry into bribery allegations involving the Dutch company.

Ports

Maersk Line to Face Miserable 2016

In a video interview Group CEO of AP Møller-Maersk Nils S. Andersen comments on the 2015 full year result, low oil and freight rates, and the challenges and opportunities

Liberia to Receive Preferential Flag Status with Respect to Chinese Tonnage Dues

Pursuant to the Maritime Transport Agreement signed between the Republic of Liberia and the People’s Republic of China on 3 November 2015, Liberia will be added

USCG to Inspect Storm-damaged Anthem of the Seas

The storm-damaged Royal Caribbean cruise ship Anthem of the Seas is scheduled to return to New York Harbor Wednesday evening where it will be met by a team of inspectors from U.

Finance

Maersk Falls into the Red

Maersk Line posted a steep decline in profit last year to $1.3bn, well down from the 2014 result of $2.3bn and below its most recent forecast as freight rate declines

Maersk Line to Face Miserable 2016

In a video interview Group CEO of AP Møller-Maersk Nils S. Andersen comments on the 2015 full year result, low oil and freight rates, and the challenges and opportunities

Six New VLCCs Marks the Start of a Busy Delivery Year

2016 is off to a flying start when it comes to delivering brand new VLCCs from shipyards in South Korea and China to owners and investor across the globe, says a report BIMCO.

Environmental

Proposed Changes to Long Island Sound Dredged Material Sites

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to amend its 2005 rule that designated the Central and Western Long Island Sound Dredged Material Disposal Sites.

Next Generation Marine Power & Propulsion Conference

The Next Generation Marine Power & Propulsion Conference will be held at the Grand Harbour Hotel, Southampton, U.K. from April 26 to 28, 2016.    This unique

Wärtsilä Supporting Japan's 'Gas Age' Shipping

A total of 16 new gas carrier ships being built in Japan for Japanese owners are to be powered by Wärtsilä dual-fuel engines capable of running on liquefied natural

News

Maersk Line to Face Miserable 2016

In a video interview Group CEO of AP Møller-Maersk Nils S. Andersen comments on the 2015 full year result, low oil and freight rates, and the challenges and opportunities

Shipping Firms Poised to Settle EU Probe

Fifteen container liner shipping companies "have offered to change their pricing practices to settle an EU antitrust probe and stave off possible fines," according

US, India Consider Joint Patrols in South China Sea

The United States and India have held talks about conducting joint naval patrols that a U.S. defense official said could include the disputed South China Sea, a move that would likely anger Beijing,

Government Update

Liberia to Receive Preferential Flag Status with Respect to Chinese Tonnage Dues

Pursuant to the Maritime Transport Agreement signed between the Republic of Liberia and the People’s Republic of China on 3 November 2015, Liberia will be added

US, India Consider Joint Patrols in South China Sea

The United States and India have held talks about conducting joint naval patrols that a U.S. defense official said could include the disputed South China Sea, a move that would likely anger Beijing,

Funding Secured for Project to Deepen the Delaware River

Dennis Rochford, president of the Maritime Exchange for the Delaware River and Bay, announced that President Obama’s FY17 proposed budget includes $33 million for the Delaware River Deepening Project.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Maritime Standards Navigation Pipelines Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1021 sec (10 req/sec)