Problem Below the Surface – Impacts on the Sound
January 29, 2013
Problem Below the Surface – Impacts on the Sound
January 29, 2013
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The Problem Starts Here
“Here” is where each of us live. It’s our backyard. It’s our driveway. It’s our house. It’s our neighborhood. Here is everywhere in the Puget Sound region. But what we do here is having a serious impact on our local waterways and ultimately on Puget Sound.
Our actions on land pollute the Sound with yard chemicals, oil, grease, soap, and bacteria from pet waste and septic systems that are in disrepair. No matter where we live – from Bellingham to Olympia, Bremerton to Snoqualmie Pass, Seattle to Shelton – our daily actions are contaminating stormwater runoff with pollution. This untreated stormwater flows over roads and yards and into storm drains and ditches. It empties directly into streams, rivers and lakes and winds its way into Puget Sound – where it stays.

Toxic Cocktail
On the surface, Puget Sound is a watery wonderland and a source of great enjoyment. It’s a gem we are proud to claim as our own. Yet we are damaging our national treasure. Throughout the 12 counties that border Puget Sound there are thousands of storm drains and streams pouring polluted water into the Sound’s delicate ecosystem. While it might look pristine on the surface, Puget Sound has unhealthy levels of many different toxic chemicals. Signs that we are killing Puget Sound are becoming harder and harder to ignore. The problem will only become worse as our population continues to grow.

Our Lifestyle in Danger
It’s easy to take Puget Sound’s more than 2,500 miles of shoreline for granted — but as pollution increases, so will beach closures. Whales and other marine life will continue to die. Salmon runs will continue to shrink. There are economic and future impacts, such as the potential demise of the $147 million annual commercial and recreational fishing industries. Or the potential threat to the associated $9.5 billion tourism industry, which supports a wide range of jobs and fuels our state’s economic engine. Future generations might not know the pleasure of exploring tide pools for sea life, digging for clams, or swimming in the surf. The experiences we take for granted today might be only nostalgic tales of tomorrow.

Hope Starts With You…Here
We can fix the problem. There is hope. The solution starts here … where you live and play. You are the solution to the problem. Approximately 75% of all pollution in Puget Sound comes from stormwater runoff that starts in our neighborhoods. It comes from the water that passes over roads, sidewalks, driveways and yards – picking up oil, grease, metals, soaps and yard chemicals along the way. By changing a few of the things you do in your yard, with your car, around your dog and in your home, you will become part of the solution. Together, we can fix it. You can help save Puget Sound at its source.