Ardagh is the lead producer of industrial soot in the region – by a longshot – and released 161 tons of soot just in 2018. From 2006-2016, Ardagh emitted some of the most toxic industrial air emissions by volume. EPA measures Ardagh as one of three low volume air polluters accounting for ninety percent of Seattle’s toxic air emissions. These toxicants include Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxins (PBTs) chromium and lead. Regionally, Ardagh is the second largest emitter of nitrous oxide, among the top ten emitters of carbon monoxide, hazardous air pollutants and volatile organic compounds, and it is the single largest source of asthmatic irritant sulfur dioxide pollution. Ardagh’s air pollution represents a serious disparity – an environmental justice issue – in Seattle because it disproportionately impacts the residents of the Duwamish Valley.

In addition to its track record of air pollution, Ardagh also has a poor track record for water pollution. In 2018 & 2019 Ecology documented persistent and extensive water pollution permit violations including: failure to maintain stormwater drainage and treatment BMPs, failure to immediately clean up spills and leaks, failure to properly manage wastewater, and failure to address dust, sediment, and debris.

In addition, over the past 5 years, Ardagh has demonstrated a recurring and pervasive problem with discharging excess TSS. TSS is the dry-weight of suspended particles, that are not dissolved, in water. These suspended solids carried in stormwater cause a range of harmful effects in a receiving water, particularly when the waterbody is designated as a Puget Sound Sediment Cleanup Site (like the Duwamish River). Since early 2017, Ecology found that Ardagh had violated the TSS effluent limit no less than 17 times. In early 2019, Ardagh violated the TSS limit an additional 9 times. Treatment or removal of TSS from industrial stormwater is typically not complicated. Yet, despite the broad availability of high quality low cost technologies available to remove pollutants like TSS from industrial stormwater, none of Ardagh’s half measure BMP updates have been even remotely sufficient to address its TSS violations.

Ardagh also has a long history of repeatedly exceeding water pollution permit benchmarks for pollutants including copper, zinc and turbidity, and not installing the stormwater treatment system necessary to keep these potentially harmful pollutants from reaching the Duwamish River.  Over the past decade, most major industrial facilities along the Duwamish River have installed advanced stormwater treatment. But not Ardagh.

Ardagh is behind the ball – and it isn’t doing its part to help recover the health of the Duwamish River and the Duwamish Valley.

We strongly urge King County decision makers to consider Ardagh’s long history of water pollution problems & noncompliance issues in reviewing Ardagh’s lease renewal.

Read our full letter to King County.

For more info on community-led efforts click here.