On Earth Day🌎, King County Executive Dow Constantine recognized 13 businesses, cities, organizations and people for the work they’re doing to protect and improve the local environment with the Green Globe Awards. The Green Globe Awards are the County’s highest honor for local environmental efforts.
Congratulations to all those recognized!❤️ Among the recipients are three that were nominated by Wastewater Treatment Division, we appreciate their environmental stewardship efforts. Here’s a shout-out 🎉 to Salmon-Safe and Clean Lake Union, Young’s Restaurant, and World Relief Seattle!
Salmon-Safe and Clean Lake Union – Leader in Water Quality Solutions
Imagine a world if…all the water was clean enough for salmon to thrive, orcas to live long lives and all humans were safe from pollution; a place where children can swim without fear of toxins in water that is so clean and clear it’s the color of turquoise ice.
For eight decades, polluted runoff from Seattle’s Aurora Bridge has impacted the health of migrating salmon and other aquatic species as it spills untreated into the Lake Washington Ship Canal. This contaminated stormwater flows through the Ballard Locks and into Puget Sound, where it affects more native fish and wildlife species, including imperiled orcas that depend on salmon as a primary food source.
This inspired environmentally innovative developer Mark Grey of Stephen Grey and Associates to join forces with Salmon Safe and convene a partnership to treat the stormwater runoff from the bridge through raingardens and bioswales on nearby land.
Salmon-Safe assessor and national stormwater expert Richard Horner, who has sampled runoff from highways across the nation for more than 40 years, said the Aurora Bridge stormwater was the most-contaminated runoff he’s ever tested.
Together with its partners, Salmon Safe is creating a blueprint for managing the 2 million gallons of stormwater that flow directly from the Aurora bridge into the ship canal between Lake Union and Puget Sound every year and, at the same time, supporting a pioneering model for public-private partnerships addressing contaminated stormwater and creating green infrastructure for public benefit.
Funded in part by Boeing, the Aurora Bridge project is led by non-profits Salmon-Safe and Clean Lake Union, that are committed to improving water quality in Puget Sound. Technical partners and design services are provided by KPFF and Weber Thompson, with outreach support from The Nature Conservancy of Washington.
Young’s Restaurant – Leader in Green Stormwater Solutions
Imagine a world if… every business managed the rain falling on their roofs.
Young’s Restaurant became the first restaurant to participate in the RainWise program – a residential rebate program that incentivizes property owners to install green stormwater infrastructure. Young’s Restaurant is a Vietnamese—Chinese family—owned business serving the White Center community. Through support from ECOSS, a grassroots nonprofit organization, Young’s Restaurant installed three cisterns that collect stormwater runoff from the property and will keep more than 11,000 gallons of stormwater out of the combined sewer system each year.
The cisterns not only keep stormwater out of the wastewater system – which saves sewer capacity for the wastewater that really needs to be treated – but it also gives cistern owners access to a valuable resource – rainwater that is suitable for watering landscaping and other uses.
ECOSS has been delivering environmental solutions since the 1990s and now delivers services across Washington. Their language capacity and multicultural environmental outreach expertise were critical to the success of this project in White Center.
The RainWise program is a partnership between the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks’ Wastewater Treatment Division and Seattle Public Utilities. The past few years, the program has implemented a “Big Roof” initiative to partner with community centers, places of worship, school districts, and other institutions to utilize green solutions to manage their stormwater. These projects engage institutions in stormwater management work, as well as build relationships with the local community.
With the new cistern capacity at Young’s Restaurant, RainWise now has more than 1,500 participants that collectively are channeling stormwater runoff from over 40 acres of impervious rooftops to green infrastructure facilities. Together, this partnership is keeping more than 20 million gallons of runoff out of the combined stormwater—sewer system every year – helping to control overflows into lakes, rivers, and Puget Sound during heavy rains.
Follow this link for details on when Young’s became the first restaurant to become a RainWise program participant: https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/dnrp/newsroom/newsreleases/2018/September/21-rainwise-youngs.aspx .
World Relief Seattle – Leader in Community Resiliency
Imagine a world if… neglected urban spaces could be transformed into oases where refugees and immigrant families gather to grow culturally appropriate foods, play and learn together, building and stewarding a sustainable community.
World Relief Seattle envisions every refugee and vulnerable immigrant welcomed by community, rooted in community and empowered for community. This is often difficult for those who are landless. In response to this need, World Relief Seattle began designing and building Hillside Paradise Parking Plots – a unique refugee and immigrant community garden carved out of an unused parking lot at Hillside Church in Kent.
With funding support from King County, King Conservation District, The Nature Conservancy and the support of Construction for Change, a one—acre parking lot was replaced with 44 in—ground garden beds and six ADA—accessible garden plots.
It’s a living classroom for south King County school districts, and the people working in the garden represent 20 different countries.
This work removed more than 29,000 square feet of asphalt, restoring permeable ground where rainfall can soak into the ground. Speaking of rainfall, 80 percent of gardens’ irrigation needs are met with rainwater catchment through four cisterns that World Relief Seattle installed.
Stormwater from the area will be captured through five raingardens that are under construction and can filter and infiltrate more than 1.1 million gallons of stormwater annually.
Since 2017, World Relief Seattle has had help from more than 1,300 volunteers, and they plan to engage with more than 4,000 community members this year. Their work this year includes building a retention pond, engineered bioswale and an urban food forest through funding made possible by King County Flood Control District.
Just one acre has transformed an entire community and positively impacted an entire watershed. The world can be changed if our imaginations are big enough.