News

Dec. 1, 2015 South Sound Stormwater Tour

On November 18th 2015, state legislative leaders, staff, and experts from the Washington Stormwater Center, the Department of Ecology, the Puget Sound Partnership, and the cities of Puyallup and Tacoma participated in the South Sound Stormwater Tour.

On November 18th 2015, state legislative leaders, staff, and experts from the Washington Stormwater Center, the Department of Ecology, the Puget Sound Partnership, and the cities of Puyallup and Tacoma participated in the South Sound Stormwater Tour. To start off the day, participants were given a demonstration of low-impact development technologies at the Washington Stormwater Center on the WSU-Puyallup campus, along with a close up look at cutting edge research studying the impacts polluted runoff on Coho salmon.

Next, the tour made its way around Tacoma and Puyallup to visit on-the-ground projects that use green infrastructure to filter and treat polluted runoff. With city stormwater engineers as our guides, we toured everything from a stadium parking lot built with permeable pavements to rain gardens incorporated into an old railroad track in downtown Tacoma – all telling the story of how cities and counties are thinking big about greener approaches to reducing harmful pollution to our water ways, and how these innovative, cost-effective approaches are becoming reality with the help of state investment.

Project sites visited during the tour include:
  1. Puyallup’s WSU Frontage Project: This project was recently awarded funding and, when finished, will retrofit streets, improve safety with bike lanes and sidewalks, and reduce pollution to a nearby creek with permeable materials and planter strips. The project will be the largest green infrastructure project of its kind in the state and will be a demonstration for other cities and counties on integrating stormwater solutions into a multimodal transportation infrastructure project.
  2. Tacoma’s Prairie Lane Trail and Stormwater Retrofit: Treats 42 acres of existing roads, homes and businesses, which had previously draining untreated into the Thea Foss Waterway – a former Superfund site that underwent a massive clean-up that was completed in 2006. The project bolsters the significant investment in the Foss Waterway clean up through the use of bioretention cells intertwined with old railroad tracks and integrated into a trail through the UW-Tacoma campus.
  3. Tacoma’s Pt. Defiance Stormwater Retrofit: Large-scale project that features a series of six cascading pools channelling runoff from nearby streets and buildings. The project will help correct a historic problem within a 754-acre watershed that currently flows untreated into the Sound near Point Defiance Marina. The design will allow the public to see water moving through the system every time it rains. It will also capture the worst pollutants before they wash into an area of the Sound already overloaded with heavy metals from the Tacoma Smelter Plume.
  4. Tacoma’s Cheney Stadium Parking Lot Retrofit: After this project was completed, it began treating 98% of the runoff that once drained, without treatment, into Commencement Bay through the use of pervious pavement in the stadium's parking lot and sidewalks. The project was an innovative test case and the results have shown even better infiltration rates than originally predicted and has passed an important test during a 100 year storm event with great success.
  5. Puyallup’s 8th Avenue Retrofit: A completed project that fixed a deteriorating residential street with flooding issues, potholes, and community safety concerns through the use of cost-effective materials including porous asphalt, pervious concrete, and rain gardens with great success – 100% infiltration of polluted runoff, slower traffic, neighborhood beautification, and less maintenance thanks to a rain garden stewardship program developed in coordination with local residents. Similar projects have already been replicated in residential streets and alleyways across the city.