FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 11, 2019
Katelyn Kinn, Staff Attorney/Co-Executive Director – firstname.lastname@example.org, (206) 297-7002
Peter McGraw, Media Officer — McGraw.P@portseattle.org, (206) 787-3446
SEATTLE, WA—On September 11, Puget Soundkeeper, Total Terminals International (TTI), and Port of Seattle reached a legal settlement to resolve a federal Clean Water Act case filed last year in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington at Seattle.
Terminal 46 is an 82-acre terminal owned by the Port of Seattle and managed by the Northwest Seaport Alliance, leased to TTI since 1991 for use as an international container terminal. TTI’s terminal operations were regulated by Washington State Department of Ecology’s Industrial Stormwater General Permit (ISGP).
The settlement requires TTI to pay $735,000 to fund third party environmental grants in the vicinity of Elliott Bay.
As of the beginning of September, TTI has terminated its lease and operations at Terminal 46 and its coverage under the ISGP; it will no longer conduct business operations in the Pacific Northwest. The settlement required TTI and the Port to thoroughly sweep Terminal 46 of debris and material, and clean storm lines, catch basins, and treatment systems prior to TTI vacating the terminal.
Moving forward, the Port of Seattle will assume responsibility and control of the treatment system until a new tenant is in place. The settlement also includes expectations to be met for different kinds of tenants and operations. For example, should a new tenant be an international container terminal like TTI, the Port of Seattle will design and install a new treatment system prior to the start of the new tenant’s operations. For the full Consent Decree click here.
“We hope this settlement signifies a changing tide for industrial stormwater compliance by tenants at Port terminals,” said Katelyn Kinn, Puget Soundkeeper staff attorney and Co-Executive Director. “Puget Sound and the communities relying on its health won’t stand for anything less than basic compliance with federal and state clean water laws. Today is a new day, and we look forward to holding Port of Seattle to its commitment to be a true clean water leader by assuring its tenants uphold their obligations.”
“The Port of Seattle, the Northwest Seaport Alliance and terminal operators will continue to make significant investments in the stormwater infrastructure of our terminals. We will continue those improvements and partner with our tenants to assure that high environmental standards are upheld on facilities critical to our region’s economy,” said Stephanie Jones Stebbins, Managing Director, Maritime, of the Port of Seattle.
Each year, between 14-94 million pounds of toxic pollution enters Puget Sound via stormwater.1
Stormwater pollution can be addressed at various points: at the source (stopping the pollution from entering the environment in the first place), along its path (filter, treat, or clean the stormwater before it enters local waterbodies), or once it enters waterbodies (the most expensive way to address pollution via a cleanup). Over the past 25 years, Puget Soundkeeper has engaged in extensive litigation against polluters violating stormwater standards in order to stop pollution at its source.
Puget Soundkeeper was represented in this action by Alyssa Englebrecht, Knoll Lowney and Marc Zemel at Smith & Lowney PLLC and in-house Attorney Katelyn Kinn.
Puget Soundkeeper first brought a legal action against TTI in 2011, for alleged IGSP violations and an alleged failure to install an adequate stormwater treatment system. In 2013, a consent decree with TTI required the installation of a new treatment system. The new treatment system, installed in 2015, did not meet the permit benchmarks.
Current Port proposals point to the terminal hosting cruise operations in 2022 alongside mixed cargo operations.
1 De Place, Eric. “HOW MUCH PETROLEUM ENTERS PUGET SOUND IN STORMWATER? Clearing up the confusion about stormwater pollution,” January 13th 2010. Available online at: http://www.sightline.org/2010/01/13/how-much-petroleum-enters-puget-sound/