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 Reporter June 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Ports

Danish Ports Approve HullWiper

Authorities at the Danish ports of Copenhagen, Kalundborg and Fredricia have granted permission for GAC EnvironHull’s pioneering, diver-free, underwater HullWiper

Lakes Limestone Trade Tops 4 Mln Tons in June

Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 4,042,766 tons in June, an increase of 6 percent compared to May, and 9-plus percent compared to a year ago, according

Haiti’s Port Lafito Officially Opens

GB Group inaugurated their Port Lafito, a world-class modern container port in Haiti. They informed that the port is now open and operational. Port Lafito

Finance

Dry Bulk Market Crisis: Opportunity or Threat?

The shipping industry is experiencing the biggest dry bulk market recession since the 1980s, as uncertain global economic outlook and increased imbalance between

As First Victims Mourned, Italian Navy Searches On

Italy held a funeral service on Tuesday for 13 migrants who died in the worst shipwreck in the Mediterranean in recent history, while the navy continued its search for other victims of the disaster.

Migrant Sailboat Sinks in Aegean, 17 Missing

A sailboat carrying migrants sank in in the Aegean sea between Turkey and Greece on Tuesday and at least 17 people were missing, Greek authorities said. Greece's

Environmental

Danish Ports Approve HullWiper

Authorities at the Danish ports of Copenhagen, Kalundborg and Fredricia have granted permission for GAC EnvironHull’s pioneering, diver-free, underwater HullWiper

First Gas Turbine-powered LNG Carrier Granted AIP

Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) announced it has jointly developed world’s first gas turbine-powered 174,000 m3 LNG carrier with GE Aviation and Marine and has secured

APL’s Schedule Reliability Scales Up

APL was the most reliable carrier with a global on-time performance of 85.5% in May 2015, according to the latest Global Liner Performance Report by SeaIntel Maritime Analysis.

News

Wärtsilä Propulsion for New Fishing Vessel

A new fishing vessel being built by Simek AS in Norway on behalf of the U.K. operator Antares (Whalsay) Fishing Company Ltd, will feature an integrated Wärtsilä

Danish Ports Approve HullWiper

Authorities at the Danish ports of Copenhagen, Kalundborg and Fredricia have granted permission for GAC EnvironHull’s pioneering, diver-free, underwater HullWiper

CMA CGM's OPDR Acquisition Approved by EU

The CMA CGM Group announced that the European Commission has approved its acquisition of OPDR. In order to finalize the acquisition, which was announced on November 25, 2014 by Jacques R.

Government Update

Lakes Limestone Trade Tops 4 Mln Tons in June

Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 4,042,766 tons in June, an increase of 6 percent compared to May, and 9-plus percent compared to a year ago, according

As First Victims Mourned, Italian Navy Searches On

Italy held a funeral service on Tuesday for 13 migrants who died in the worst shipwreck in the Mediterranean in recent history, while the navy continued its search for other victims of the disaster.

Migrant Sailboat Sinks in Aegean, 17 Missing

A sailboat carrying migrants sank in in the Aegean sea between Turkey and Greece on Tuesday and at least 17 people were missing, Greek authorities said. Greece's

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Pipelines Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction
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: 0.1520 sec (7 req/sec)