Toxic Chemical

Shipyards, oil refineries, and pulp and paper mills put the health of Puget Sound at risk by not fully meeting their responsibility to control the toxic chemical pollution they generate, according to a detailed report by People For Puget Sound based on the environmental records of 31 facilities. We prepared the report as the result of an eight-month study of the permit system that regulates industrial Some facilities are doing a better job than others, but we found serious deficiencies in what the state allows to be discharged into our waters and how poorly the state and these industries follow our We know the state and these industries can do a lot better job to prevent dumping toxic pollution that harms the health of our marine waters and our communities around Puget Sound.

Heavy metals, petroleum, and organoclorines have been shown to harm the immune and reproductive systems of From 1990 to 1994, five of the 10 largest water polluters in Washington were oil refineries and pulp mills located on Puget Sound. These five facilities legally discharged into Puget Sound 11.5 million pounds of toxic chemicals, including persistent toxic heavy metals, carcinogens such as chloroform and formaldehyde, and reproductive toxins such as lead and mercury. 25 of the facilities have detected at least one toxic chemical above state water quality standards in their final effluent — and often more than one. 21 of the facilities either are in areas known to have significant sediment contamination or have conducted site specific tests which show sediment contamination. 12 of the facilities have conducted biomonitoring tests on their effluent that resulted in either high levels of mortality or harmful effects on growth or reproduction.

20 of the 31 facilities evaluated either were fined by the state Department of Ecology or paid money as a result of a citizens suit 86 times in the last seven years for a total of $600,800. Ecology chose not to issue fines to 22 of the facilities for violations of the limits, conditions or other requirements of their permits. The report underscores the need for legislative action to strengthen enforcement of toxic pollution discharge rules and to prevent and reduce toxic chemical discharges. Control and prevention of toxic pollution is a major policy goal of the Marine Waters and Salmon Habitat Protection Initiative 188 supporters are working to send to the 1997 state legislature.

Executive summary: The executive summary of the report is available here on SoundWeb. Full text: The full text of this 140-page report is available here on SoundWeb in two formats: To read and print on-line using your web browser. Go to table of contents for on-line version. As a PDF file for use with Adobe Acrobat Reader. This format preserves the look of the printed version of the report and includes all figures and tables. If you don’t have the Acrobat Reader, it’s available free at