King County Water & Land Resources Division Seeks Clean Puget Sound Help, Has Extensive Resources For You To Use

Protect WatershedKing County’s Water and Land Resources Division wants us all to take action to save Puget Sound.

Stormwater, or polluted runoff, is the leading contributor to reduced water quality in Puget Sound.  Sustainable West Seattle and Tox-ick are already working to bring knowledge about stormwater to our members.

Learn more about polluted runoff, its impacts on the environment, how King County is addressing the issue, and how you can help.

To assist, King County has assembled a series of videos on the many elements associated with stormwater runoff. Watch these short videos to learn more about the subject cited:

You can view even more in the Stormwater Video Library.

Test your environmental knowledge, take the stormwater quiz.

You can participate by taking the King County online stormwater survey, or sending the Department of Water and Land Resources a comment at, or by mail to the Stormwater Management Team, King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, 201 S. Jackson St., Suite 600, Seattle, WA 98104.

Everyone can take action:

  • In Your Yard: Use fertilizers and pesticides sparingly, or just use compost;
  • With Your Car: Take your car to a commercial car wash and have the oil leaks fixed;
  • Around Your Dog: Pick up dog poop, bag it and place it in the trash (not in the yard waste bin);
  • At Home and More: From cleaning products to septic maintenance, be aware of how you care for your home.

To learn more about what you can do, visit the Puget Sound Starts Here website.

As part of an ongoing commitment to protect public health and improve environmental conditions in our streams, rivers, lakes and Puget Sound, King County annually reviews and updates its overall stormwater management plan. A detailed description of the plan can be found online.

For more information about stormwater, please visit:

Celebrate Cinco De Mayo with West Seattle Spokespeople

cinco de mayoJoin with Sustainable West Seattle’s Spokespeople and celebrate the diversity of Seattle on Cinco De Mayo.

The West Seattle Spokespeople ride is a 24 mile ride and leaves at 11:00 am, Sunday, July 5,  from Jack Block Park in West Seattle, the entrance is on Harbor Avenue SW just south of Salty’s entrance.

The ride starts at Jack Block Park and procedes on mostly traffic-free routes through the International District and up to El Centro de La Raza on Beacon Hill. After taking in some of the celebration, the group will ride to South Park for authentic Mexican food.

The ride features several ethnic cultural centers as well as three car-free bicycle trail – ,the Sodo trail, the Mountain to Sound trail, and the hief Sealth trail.

The bike pace will be leisurely with lots of breaks and regrouping so don’t let the 24 miles deter you.

White Center Food Bank Offers Free Garden Beds For Community Use

WC Food BankWhite Center Food Bank wants everyone to know about the availability of garden beds for community use. These beds are FREE, with only a commitment to care for the space as it’s provided.

The Food Bank also offers a tool check-out for use in the garden, though their selection is limited so the West Seattle Tool Library might also be a useful option.

Anyone wanting more information can contact Mara at

The Mission of the White Center Food Bank is to minimize hunger, while nourishing community, nurturing self-reliance and embracing our rich cultural diversity.  They are located at 10829 8th Ave SW Seattle (White Center).

SWS Selects 3 Green Incubator Grant Recipients for $1000, & $500 Awards

From left, Ranette Iding, Delridge Produce Cooperative, Stu Hennessey, DIY Bikes, Tamsen Spengler, Timebank of West Seattle.

Sustainable West Seattle selected three organizations at our March 18 forum from six applicants for the Green Project Incubator Grant program.  The rating criteria for the grant applications included these elements: Feasibility, Sustainability, Social and Economic Justice, Community Building, and Educational Elements.

Shown accepting their award in the photo are (l to r) Ranette Iding, Delridge Grocery, Stu Hennessey, DIY Bikes, and Tansen Spengler, Timebank of West Seattle.

The projects were selected based on

  • An initial review and rating when the projects were presented at the February SWS forum;
  • Ratings from the public on a month-long SurveyMonkey project review site;
  • And a final review of all ratings and the applications by the Sustainable West Seattle Coordinating Council (board of directors).

The three organizations and their grant award and project are described below:

Delridge Produce Cooperative Membership Outreach

$1000 Grant courtesy of  Coho Team at Windermere Agents

This project would help the Coop build membership in advance of their plans to open a storefront operation on Delridge Way in 2014. The project would use the funds to purchase accounting software which would help with membership dues and expenses, and to assist in the development of a professional brochure and membership agreement for Coop members, and finally, the funds would be used to provide items such at t-shirts and reusable tote bags to help with the Coop’s branding and community outreach. The Coop has until June 2014 to build membership and get ready for the opening, which will be on the ground floor of a structure being built one block south of the Delridge Library. The proposal was submitted by Ranete Iding, of Delridge Produce Cooperative.  The Coop recently changed its name to Delridge Grocery.

DIY Bikes

$500 Grant courtesy of Sustainable West Seattle

The project would use the funds to purchase two bicycle work stations, including advanced bike tools sets and workbenches, which would be based out of the West Seattle Tool Library. The DIY Bikes program would work with partners such as SW Youth and Family Services and other local organizations to create a youth-oriented bike maintenance and repair program modeled after Columbia City’s BikeWorks. Used and abused bikes will be restored, fixed and turned into functioning bicycles by participating youth working under professional adult tutelage. Bicycles which have been restored will be offered for sale at very low rates to provide low-cost transportation options for area residents, and the sales could help defray ongoing expenses. The proposal was submitted by Stu Hennessey, Alki Bike and Board, who has assisted in a similar program in White Center. DIY, in addition to meaning Do-It-Yourself, also means Direct Involvement of Youth as this project intends on providing career and employment opportunities for youth by directly involving them in the repair and sale of used bicycles.

Timebank of West Seattle

$500 Grant courtesy of Sustainable West Seattle

The project would establish a timebank in West Seattle using expertise and assistance from Timebanks of Puget Sound (TOPS) and Eastside Timebank, two existing examples of the concept. The funds would allow the group to develop outreach programs and solicit members by allowing development of a website to be created to recruit members and by purchasing a laptop computer which would be used in community briefings to explain the Timebank methodology. The website would allow users to post times they’ve donated and to find folks who would be able to provide a service or offer their time in exchange. Timebanks operate as a clearing house for individuals donating time and service and those needing time or service. The proposal was submitted by Tamsen Spengler, a member of the West Seattle Timebank steering group. Timebank of West Seattle will work directly with Sustainable West Seattle in working to develop this new sharing program.



Washington Department of Ecology to Begin Yard Sampling & Cleanup in Tacoma Smelter Plume Areas, Including Vashon

Tacoma SmelterThe Washington State Department of Ecology is about to start a  Tacoma Smelter Plume Yard Sampling & Cleanup Program and has an open Public Comment Period from March 14 through April 29.

This year, Ecology will begin sampling and cleaning up residential yards.  This “Yard Program” will focus on the most contaminated areas of the Tacoma Smelter Plume – Ruston, west Tacoma, and southern Vashon-Maury Island.

To see more information about the comment period information and to view the program service area map, go to

The program will run a little bit differently in the Ruston/North Tacoma Study Area (Superfund site).  There are separate fact sheets for the different regions the program serves, and a Frequently Asked Questions fact sheet.

The Tacoma Smelter Plume website is

Please submit written comments to Amy Hargrove at  She can also be reached at 360-407-6262.

More information on the entire program is available from Hannah Aoyagi, PhD, by phone 360-407-6790 or email at  Hannah is the Community Outreach & Environmental Education Specialist, Toxics Cleanup Program, Southwest Regional Office, Washington State Department of Ecology

Sustainable West Seattle Forums To Feature Quarterly Themes: First Up Is Successful Gardening with Nature

COWSJoin us Monday, March 18, at South Seattle Community College’s Horticulture Center for a new approach to communtiy forums. Sustainable West Seattle is changing the way we conduct our monthly community forums.

For over 5 years SWS has had monthly meetings on the 3rd Mondays of the month to bring interested West Seattleites together over a variety of topics. Much has been learned and shared and many community alliances have been formed.

Now, a new concept is being unveiled to extend the conversations as well as put action into our forums.  Three-month themes with a variety of workshops in between each forum will give SWS a chance to bring about a more lasting legacy to our forums. Each quarterly theme also will culminate in a permanent offering to the community in the form of a project accomplished or a new service initiated.

A very timely first effort will be the Spring quarterly theme of Successful Gardening with Nature. Starting with the first forum on soil building, experts from SWS will share their secrets for the foundation of successful gardening.

The first Successful Gardening with Nature forum will take place this Monday, March 18th  at 6:00 pm at the West Seattle Community Orchard located in the north end of South Seattle Community College near the Horticulture Classrooms. This new hands-on style of learning will demonstrate the process of creating garden beds that sustain fertilizer and water as well as keeping weeds at bay. This portion will be followed by aQuestion-and-Answer session and the movie “Permaculture Soils” by Geoff Lawton in the SSCC LHO classroom 2.

Several workshops at the Community Orchard will follow in coming days. The West Seattle Tool Library will also be hosting a Fixers Collective March 21st 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm, offering a chance for local gardeners to sharpen their tools and repair wheel barrows. With parts, tools and experts at the ready, the WS Tool Library would request a donation of $5 for members and $10 for the public.

The April forum will be on garden planning. April’s subjects will include the selection of crops, what different plants require, sister planting for beneficial reasons and pest control and will answer the question, what does a tomato need that a cucumber doesn’t want?

The final forum in the series, in May, will be a one-day garden creation to benefit a yet to be determined community group, school or church. You can nominate a spot in need of a garden by logging onto and leaving a comment on our website or at the end of this article.

Vote for Green Incubator $1000 Grant Applications, Take SurveyMonkey® Poll and Rate Your Favorite Proposal

SurveyMonkeyGreenIncubatorSustainable West Seattle received six applications for the $1000 Green Incubator Grant Program, made possible by a generous grant from the Coho Team at Windermere Agents.

SWS is now asking you – everyone – to weigh in on these applications.  Please rate the six applications using this Green Incubator Grant Application SurveyMonkey link.  The rating criteria for the survey is the same as SWS cited in the original announcement for the grant – Feasibility, Sustainability, Social and Economic Justice, Community Building, and Educational Elements.  Please rate the six applications on each of these criteria.

SWS will select the grant recipient prior to our March 18 Community forum, which will be held at the South Seattle Community College Horticulture Center and Community Orchard of West Seattle site.  We will announce the winner at the March forum and post the winner here, on the SWS website.  For the projects which are not selected, SWS will work with the project proposers to see what other grant opportunities exist and will help with grant writing should those project managers desire or need assistance.

EPA Releases Duwamish Cleanup Plan

Aerial View Durwamish RiverEPA has released its Proposed Cleanup Plan for the Duwamish River.  This is an extremely important time since the community will only have 105 days to make sure that the chosen alternative is the most beneficial to all of us.

As always, the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition/Technical Advisory Group and partners will be working with you and the rest of the community on informing, educating and advising you on the key issues of the plan and how to maximize its benefits and minimize its adverse effects.  We are finalizing a schedule (coming up next month) with all the different opportunities (technical advice workshops, educational meetings and boat tours, formal public hearings, unconventional public meetings, rallies, etc.) where you can get involved.

For more information please contact Alberto at or 206-453-9803.

Below is the release from the Environmental Protection Agency announcing the cleanup plan:

EPA proposes plan to clean up Lower Duwamish Waterway from decades of industrial pollution

Cleanup will remove nearly 800,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment and greatly reduce sources of pollution to Seattle’s main industrial river corridor

CONTACT: Hanady Kader, EPA Public Affairs, 206-553-0454,

(Seattle—Feb. 28, 2013) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a proposed plan to clean up the Lower Duwamish Waterway Superfund Site, the city’s chief industrial waterway located on the south end of Elliott Bay. The release of the sediment cleanup plan marks the beginning of a public comment period.

“The Duwamish is Seattle’s river. This plan is the product of our close coordination among the governments and businesses responsible for cleanup, and the communities and tribes who use the river for their food and livelihood,” said Dennis McLerran, Regional Administrator for EPA Region 10.  “This cleanup will ensure that the Duwamish will be healthier and safer for the people and communities who rely on it, while also keeping the river open for business.”

The proposed plan calls for cleanup of the most contaminated sediment and would reduce PCB contamination in the Duwamish River by at least 90 percent in conjunction with cleanups already underway at early action sites. The plan also includes an environmental justice analysis that examines the impacts of contamination on minority and low-income populations around the Superfund site. In addition, the plan has a source control strategy to minimize the release of pollutants that could re-contaminate waterway sediments.

EPA manages the cleanup of contaminated sediment and the Washington State Department of Ecology oversees pollution source control under a 2002 agreement to share management of the five-mile site.

“Source control targets pollutants both past and present, and represents a continuing commitment to protect against re-contamination of Duwamish sediments after the EPA cleanup,” said Jim Pendowski, Ecology’s toxics cleanup program manager. “It takes broad involvement – including public agencies, businesses, and local residents – to sustain this effort.  We’re all responsible for the health of the Duwamish.”

Industry, storm drains, and combined sewer overflows have polluted the Lower Duwamish Waterway surface water and sediments over the past 100 years. Over 40 hazardous substances were found in sediments at concentrations that pose a risk to people and marine life. Resident Duwamish fish and shellfish, which are consumed by local communities, accumulate contaminants that are harmful to human health.

The primary contaminants of concern are PCBs, dioxins, arsenic and carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. EPA used scientific studies completed by the City of Seattle, King County, the Port of Seattle and Boeing to determine the extent of contamination and evaluate cleanup options. These parties recognized the need for cleanup measures and stepped up to do the work in areas of the river that contained the most contamination. The early action areas for cleanup are Slip 4, Terminal 117, Boeing Plant 2, Jorgensen Forge, Duwamish Diagonal and the Norfolk combined sewer overflow.

The proposed cleanup would address 156 acres of contaminated sediments through dredging, capping or enhanced natural recovery, including removal of nearly 800,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediments from the waterway. Enhanced natural recovery refers to the application of a thin layer of clean sand that would reduce contaminant levels more quickly than natural recovery, where natural sedimentation from the river creates a cleaner surface over time. An additional 256 acres with lower levels of contamination would benefit from monitored natural recovery.

Since 2002, the Washington State Department of Ecology, the City of Seattle and King County have worked to investigate and reduce pollution sources in the waterway’s 32-square-mile drainage area with a series of targeted initiatives:

  • Conducted 3,100 inspections at over 1,300 businesses
  • Performed 421 combined hazardous waste and water quality inspections under the state’s Urban Waters Initiative
  • Collected over 800 samples to track and identify sources
  • Cleaned over 30,000 feet of storm drain lines

Ecology has overseen cleanups or investigations at 22 contaminated industrial sites along or near the Duwamish under the state’s cleanup law. EPA has managed the federal cleanup process at eight sites. Ecology’s proposed source control strategy will carry these efforts into the future, including monitoring to track the strategy’s effectiveness.

The proposed cleanup would take approximately seven years to implement, with an additional ten years to reduce contaminant concentrations to the lowest predicted concentrations through natural recovery. The estimated cost of the proposed cleanup is $305 million.

The release of the proposed plan marks the beginning of a 105-day public comment period. The public can submit comments through the EPA website and at three public meetings scheduled for April and May.

For more information on the proposed cleanup plan for the Lower Duwamish Waterway Superfund Site or to submit comments online, please visit:

King County Natural Resources & Parks Develops Online Sustainability Database, Solicits Support & Testing

Localize ScreenshotThe King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, with generous support and guidance from Public Health and the King County Department of Transportation (and funding from US Dept of Energy), built the Localize Sustainability website to promote community engagement on sustainability.

The beta version can now be accessed at this address:


The mission of Localize is to inspire personal sustainability improvements that are informed by one’s unique local circumstances.  Sustainability improvements are lifestyle and habit changes that promote health/wellness, save money, improve the local economy, and pollute less.

The Localize beta site has a location and lifestyle-sensitive sustainability calculator, data charts for neighborhood characteristics, countywide sustainability maps, and a (rudimentary) resources/solutions page.

King County asks “Please share and help us improve this site”

The County says with your help, this site can be more engaging, informative, and effective.  The Localize project team is seeking your suggestions for improvements to this site – additional features to consider for the calculator, links to sustainability-oriented programs and organizations, or additional maps of King County conditions.

For further information or to forward ideas and suggestions, contact Richard Gelb, Performance Management Lead, King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, 206-296-8374,