FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 21, 2021
Media Contact: Katelyn Kinn, Puget Soundkeeper Staff Attorney (firstname.lastname@example.org)
SEATTLE, WA –
“Federal Clean Water Act penalties are important – to penalize shortsighted business decisions, to dissuade future violations, and to allocate funds in a way that addresses the harm caused by egregious industrial pollution,” said Katelyn Kinn, Staff Attorney for Puget Soundkeeper Alliance. “By keeping the funds local and working with the Rose Foundation, we can be sure reparations from these lawsuits support communities that bear the disproportionate brunt of the pollution.”
Puget Soundkeeper Alliance and Lineage Logistics filed a consent decree in federal court on April 12th in settlement of the Clean Water Act lawsuit filed by Soundkeeper last year to address violations of a state-issued industrial stormwater permit. Lineage (aka SeaFreeze) operates an 18-acre refrigerated warehousing facility at Terminal 115, leased from Port of Seattle.
The facility provides temporary cold storage to frozen food products during transit, uses a fleet of onsite fork lifts to load and unload products, and discharges industrial stormwater to the Duwamish River. Small particles of dirt, dust, metals and solid chemicals accumulate on hard surfaces onsite, requiring rigorous management practices to ensure that it doesn’t become entrained in stormwater and flow to the Duwamish River at unhealthy levels.
After decades of industrial abuse, the Duwamish River sediments are already impaired for pollutants, and therefore there are hard limits on industrial discharges of sediment in stormwater – limits which Lineage Logistics violated. The settlement requires more aggressive housekeeping measures, pavement improvements, stormwater plan updates and employee training – all aimed at reducing pollutants in stormwater runoff. Lineage will also pay Soundkeeper’s legal fees and costs, and $90,000 to the Rose Foundation for local third party environmental projects.
On June 21st, Soundkeeper and Carlile Transportation filed a consent decree in federal court in settlement of another Clean Water Act lawsuit filed by Puget Soundkeeper last year to prosecute violations of industrial stormwater requirements. Carlile is a 24.8-acre freight transfer terminal operating on land leased from Port of Tacoma that supports large shipments of supplies by vessel to Alaska.
Carlile’s site discharges industrial stormwater to the Hylebos Waterway. Despite repeatedly triggering permit requirements to make substantial onsite updates to ensure cleaner stormwater, Carlile delayed solutions for years.
The settlement requires (at long last!) installation of an advanced stormwater treatment system to filter and clean the runoff water before it reaches the Hylebos. It also requires enhanced sweeping and stormwater plan updates. Carlile will pay Soundkeeper’s legal fees and costs, and $325,000 to the Rose Foundation for local third party environmental projects.
“The communities relying on the health and recovery of the Duwamish River and the Hylebos Waterway have been disproportionately burdened with the harms of water pollution for too long,” said Sean Dixon, Puget Soundkeeper’s Executive Director. “Clean Water Act permit compliance is a critical piece of the equation for protecting Puget Sound. We are committed to holding these industrial facilities accountable for becoming better neighbors.”
Soundkeeper was represented in both actions by Alyssa Koepfgen and Richard Smith, Smith & Lowney PLLC, and inhouse attorney Katelyn Kinn.