Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Stories about Getting to Clean Water: Turbid runoff and the railroad — Cooperative solutions

By Ted Hamlin, Ecology Spokane Regional Office

This dirt road was sending muddy runoff into the Spokane RiverThis dirt road was sending muddy runoff into the Spokane River.
Finding and fixing direct discharges of stormwater into the Spokane River are constant and perplexing problems. There are dirt streets, alleys, parking lots, and access roads around the cities of Spokane and the Spokane Valley that contribute muddy water during each rain event or snow melt. When this happens, it can cause a stormwater water quality violation.

Urban Waters Initiative is working

Ecology’s Urban Waters Initiative is working to eliminate pollution that is getting into the Spokane River. One of the techniques we use is to conduct neighborhood sweeps, looking for businesses or land uses that may be potential sources. Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railroad’s dirt access road, leading from Madelia Street up a hill to its silos, turned out to be one source of muddy runoff. When it rained or snow melted at the site, water would run down the hill, picking up dirt and delivering it to a storm drain.

So at 310 N. Madelia Street, we had to figure out who was responsible for the turbid runoff.

BNSF stepped up as a responsible party and due to the work of the Urban Waters Initiative and collaboration with BSNF Railroad and the city of Spokane, the site now has a well thought-out stormwater management system that should eliminate runoff of turbid water.

Click here to read the full story.

Telling our success stories

Water quality success stories provide a wealth of information associated with novel project designs, funding ideas, and useful resource suggestions. Some are clear successes; others supply valuable lessons to help us grow in our understanding of water quality protection and restoration. Stories illustrate successes gained from cooperation among Washington’s citizens and organizations.

Read all of our water quality success stories, and check out our catalog of stories.

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