4/24/2014

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Clean-water advocates release frightening facts about pollution in Puget Sound

Clean-water advocates release frightening facts about pollution in Puget Sound
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SEATTLE - On the eve of Halloween, a local environmental advocacy group hopes to add a little fright to the night by releasing its list of scary facts about pollution and the Puget Sound.

According to Environment Washington, the state's iconic waterway is haunted by stormwater runoff and toxic dumping, and now is the time for federal environmental leaders to step up and protect the Sound from unchecked pollution.

Below is a condensed version of Environment Washington's list of Frightening Facts about Puget Sound:

1. By 2010, more than 521,000 pounds of toxic waste, including cancer-causing chemicals, developmental toxins and reproductive toxins, were dumped in Washington waterways.

2. More than 1 million pounds of toxic chemicals made their way into Puget Sound from surface runoff, groundwater discharge and city wastewater outfalls.

3. Orca whales in the Puget Sound are considered to be the most PCB-contaminated mammals on earth.

4. Puget Sound harbor seals are seven times more contaminated by toxic chemicals than the harbor seals in Canada's Strait of Georgia, which adjoins the Sound.

5. In 2008, 549 streams and rivers carried poor water quality from storm water and toxins that were tributaries to the Sound.

6. Exposure to toxins and pollutants threatens the state's $147 million a year commercial and recreational fish industry as well as the state's $9.5 billion tourism industry - both built around the Sound.

7. Since 1980, mover than 30 percent of the Puget Sound's shellfish growing area has closed due to polluted water.

8. An estimated 140,000 pounds of toxic chemicals enter the Puget Sound on an average day.

9. Research shows that 30 percent of Chinook salmon spends the entire marine part of their life in Puget Sound, rather than swimming out to sea. Due to the Sound's increased levels of pollution, their diets now have elevated levels of toxic chemicals.

10. Every year, more than 9,600 pounds of plastic additives are discharged from sewage treatment plants in the Puget Sound region.

The Environmental Protection Agency recently announced it was moving forward with plans to restore a rule in the Clean Water Act that Environment Washington says could help close loopholes in legislation that leaves more than 50 percent of Washington's streams and drinking water unprotected from pollution.

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