State grant pays for pollution spill equipment and training

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Pierce County will use a $100,000 grant from the Washington State Department of Ecology to purchase pollution spill prevention equipment and provide training to employees on how to respond to pollution spills.

“County first responders and stormwater inspectors are called to spills of pollutants such as oil or hazardous materials that impact the municipal stormwater system,” said Melissa McFadden, Pierce County Planning and Public Works assistant county engineer and surface water manager. “By having the necessary equipment and training, we can help keep pollutants out of our streams, rivers and Puget Sound.”

Every day between 52,000 and 60,000 pounds of pollutants enter Puget Sound from pollution such as vehicles dripping oil, pet waste not being put in the trash and pesticides washing off private properties and into the stormwater system.

The grant will be used to buy an assortment of response-related equipment including booms, pads, absorbents, tools, personal protective equipment and storage trailers.

Funds from the Oil Spill and Hazardous Materials Response and Firefighting Equipment Grant will complement existing Pierce County spill response training programs that teach employees how to control, contain, and confine spills and decontaminate the area following a spill.

Pierce County holds a stormwater permit issued by the Washington State Department of Ecology that regulates how stormwater is managed to reduce pollution. This grant helps the county remain in compliance with this stormwater permit.

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