Daniel Lathrop's picture

Crowdsourcing a rescue for Puget Sound

In a sign of the new way government and citizens are interacting, the EPA is using its Twitter account to push for Twitizens to submit suggestions on protecting and/or restoring the Puget Sound.

Tell us what you think are the highest priorities to help protect Puget Sound: http://bit.ly/Hf4nW

EPA Web and social media guru Jeff Levy was more blunt on his personal Twitter:

"Anybody care about Puget Sound? Help EPA protect it! http://bit.ly/Hf4nW"

Can Twitter save the Sound? Time will tell. But given the failure of politicians over the decades to come up with solutions, some crowdsourcing is definitely in order.

Car washing can harm fish, WA regulators say

Saying soap, metals and other pollutants in runoff from car-washing can make their way into streams and harm fish, Washington environmental regulators are requiring residents to keep that runoff out of storm drains. The Washington Department of Ecology is requiring cities to adopt ordinances saying car washing wastewater has to stay  on the washer’s property. Officials say the best way to do that is to wash the car on gravel or grass rather than pavement – or go to a commercial car wash. Local governments are likely to try to get the word out through public education campaigns. Doug Navetski of King County’s water-quality division told Phuong Le of the AP: “Are we going to have car wash police out there? No.”

AK towns face overabundance of sewage

In another example of how America is failing to keep up with its basic needs, the Anchorage Daily News reports today that towns in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley -- suburban Anchorage, essentially -- are struggling to treat ever-growing v0lumes of human waste. Rindi White's somewhat predictable lead about people not wanting to think about what happens after they flush gives way to some pretty stark evidence that the towns of Palmer, Wasilla and Mat-Su Borough are in deep doo-doo:

In Palmer, ammonia levels at the treatment facility off Outer Springer Loop Road already exceed federal standards and, if not fixed by 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency has threatened to fine the city up to $27,500 a day.

In Wasilla, the nitrate levels in testing wells near the city wastewater treatment center off Old Matanuska Road are high. Nitrates can pose a health risk in drinking water.

Meanwhile, throughout the Valley, septic pumpers drive thousands of extra miles a year hauling millions of gallons of septic waste from Mat-Su to Anchorage because there is no place to dump it in the Valley.

The American Water Works AssociationNational Association of Clean Water Agencies and others have been warning for years (PDF) about deficits in upkeep of American infrastructure. And don't forget that interstate highway bridge that evaporated in Minnesota.