Environment News Service (ENS)

$2.5 Million to Prevent Puget Sound Pollution


Source: Environment News Service (ENS)

OLYMPIA, Washington, September 7, 2007 (ENS) - A new Washington state program offers $2.5 million to help local governments in the 12 Puget Sound counties conduct small business technical assistance to reduce and prevent water pollution. Nearly 70 percent of the state's hazardous waste generators are in the Puget Sound region - thousands of small businesses.

The Department of Ecology has invited local governments to submit funding proposals under a partnership established this year by the Legislature to aid Puget Sound.

The Hazardous Waste and Toxics Reduction Program provides funding for local governments to hire 'local source control specialists' in the Puget Sound region.

Source control assistance will help businesses control, reduce or eliminate toxic pollution sources. Priorities include reducing pollutants that reach Puget Sound from toxic cleanup sites, storm water sources, or waste generation.

The goal is to provide an opportunity for both rural and urban local governments located throughout the Puget Sound region to participate in the source control specialist program.

Local governments in Clallam, Island, Jefferson, Kitsap, King, Mason, Pierce, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, Thurston, and Whatcom Counties are eligible.

The Department of Ecology expects to award eight to 12 partnership agreements, ranging from $200,000 to $400,000 through June, 2009, depending on the response and available funds.

The agency says it anticipates continued funding opportunities beyond Fiscal Year 2008-2009.

With the funding, local governments will help small businesses and citizens safely manage hazardous and solid wastes. Source control specialists will work in partnership with Ecology to visit small businesses and provide technical assistance services intended to control pollution at its source.

Local governments may identify any specific local priorities that would be included in the funding agreement and may include stormwater permitting business assistance programs, non-point source control efforts and that could be leveraged with supplemental funding.

The Department of Ecology will enter into interagency agreements with local government to: 1) conduct source control site visits and referrals, 2) participate in the department's Environmental Results Program pilot, 3) conduct local government-specific technical assistance and education, and 4) report measurable environmental results.

The agency will award contracts based on its evaluation of letters of interest and proposals from local governments that are due by October 29. The Department of Ecology expects to finalize the partnership agreements in November.

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