Current Status of Port’s Stormwater Response

Post from the Port of Port Townsend website.

Photo from Port of PT website

Photo from Port of PT website

As [the Port of PT has] communicated previously, the Port of Port Townsend is currently in the midst of a Level 3 environmental response to the WA State Department of Ecology. This is the highest level of response, and reflects the serious nature of the level of contaminants entering our stormwater system. Our continued ability to run a boatyard in Port Townsend is dependent on our ability to reduce contaminant levels.

There are two primary issues we are addressing:

  • Cleaning up contamination that has built up over the years
  • Preventing present and future contamination

Cleaning up contamination that has built up over the years

Over the many years of operations at the Port’s Boat Haven facility, contamination has built up to levels that now exceed state standards. The Port has an underground water retention system that stores up to 50,000 gallons of water, in various vaults, in much the same way as a septic tank. When stormwater runs into that tank, solids settle to the bottom. After nearly 20 years of accumulation, that sludge needs to be cleaned. That sounds easy, but it is far from it. Finding a home for the water (which is not free of contaminants) is a complex issue, as is the actual removal of the sludge.

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