Media Contact: Phyllis McElroy, Communications & Marketing Director

pmcelroy@healthybay.org (253) 383-2429 ext. 5

September 1, 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Communities for a Healthy Bay Announces Intent to File Clean Water Act Lawsuits Against Tyee Marina and the Marina at Brown’s Point for Polluting Puget Sound

Tacoma, WA – On August 25, 2022, Communities for a Healthy Bay (“CHB”) sent Tyee Marina, the Marina at Brown’s Point, and their respective owners and operators 60-day notice letters informing them of CHB’s intent to sue the marinas under the Clean Water Act for discharging pollutants into Puget Sound without the required permits. Kampmeier & Knutsen, PLLC, an environmental law firm with offices in Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon, represents CHB in the lawsuits.

As part of their weekly patrols of Commencement Bay, CHB has observed waste and dilapidated materials being used throughout Tyee and the Marina at Brown’s Point infrastructure. Breakwaters appear to have been constructed from deteriorated barges, vessels, and docks– some almost completely rusted and flaking paint–and other materials that may previously have been used as bridges or roads. Additionally, trash, piles of rock, sand, dirt, ropes, Styrofoam, plastic, and other materials are stored on these barges and vessels and on nearby beaches. Seals, sea lions, and many birds can be seen perched throughout the marinas, encountering items that can be harmful to marine life. CHB alleges these actions are illegal and in direct violation of the Clean Water Act.

The Puget Sound ecosystem supports many species of mammals, birds, fish, and other wildlife. It provides a critical food source for endangered Southern Resident Orcas, and has cultural, spiritual, commercial, and recreational significance to Tribal members and other residents of Commencement Bay.

“Commencement Bay is a functioning estuary and is also the current and historical homelands of the Puyallup Tribe and other Coast Salish Nations. It is also our center for commerce, the hub for transportation and shipment of goods that are critical to Tacoma and the South Sound region,” says Erin Dilworth, CHB’s Deputy Director. “I have been disappointed to see rusted vessels used as breakwaters, and trash and debris dumped along the shoreline by the marinas and hope this lawsuit gives them incentive to finally resolve each issue outlined in the complaint.”

CHB intends to sue Tyee Marina and the Marina at Brown’s Point on behalf of their constituents, members, and supporters under the Clean Water Act citizen suit provision. Subject to the Clean Water Act, Tyee Marina and the Marina at Brown’s Point are required to meet federal and state requirements when discharging pollution into Puget Sound. CHB alleges that Tyee Marina and the Marina at Brown’s Point have violated the Clean Water Act by:

  • Discharging pollutants such as paint and rust flakes, Styrofoam, dust and dirt debris into Puget Sound from vessels, floating crafts and other marina infrastructure without a permit; and
  • Discharging Styrofoam and other pollutants from the beaches where they are piled up and stored in the open.

Tyee Marina and Marina at Brown’s Point have 60 days to take corrective action and restore marina infrastructure before Communities for a Healthy Bay moves forward with a lawsuit. If proven, each Clean Water Act violation could be subject to a penalty of up to $59,973 per day. During the 60-day period, CHB is willing to discuss effective solutions for the violations and is open to negotiating a settlement.

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About CHB

Communities for a Healthy Bay is a community-based, environmental non-profit whose mission is to engage people in the cleanup, restoration and protection of Commencement Bay and surrounding waters of the South Sound. CHB’s work is driven by a passion for the natural environment and our community; by a steadfast commitment to good science, strategic action and organizational excellence; and by a conviction that together we can accomplish more.