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May 4, 2009

Letter to the Editor: Map of outfalls is first step in cleanup of Puget Sound

Thank you for publishing that map of the storm water outfalls (DJC Building Green blog). The students at the UW have done our community a terrific service by producing it, as have you for publishing it.

I think that map will be an enormous resource in the effort to clean up the sound. It not only locates the points of entry for the toxins which harm the sound, but also represents an exciting educational opportunity for everyone in our community who cares about the health of the sound.

Contrary to an article published in the Times last year, newer development does not contribute to the storm runoff problem nearly as much as the older infrastructure. This is because new development is required to treat the runoff with some form of storm detention system. It is the older neighborhoods, such as mine in West Seattle, that contribute the most to polluting the sound as they were developed well before the current regulations (which protect the watershed) were put in place. The runoff from these neighborhoods heads, untreated, straight into the sound.

What if we could, one by one, build detention systems above each of these outfalls shown on the map? Realistically, this may be the key to truly cleaning up the sound and while it may be an enormous project, now that this map exists, it seems comprehensible and doable.

Allen Grissom

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