Sound Status Update — May 2018

Citizens for a Healthy Bay has certainly been active these past few months. We had our biggest fundraiser of the year back in April, brought on our new Policy and Technical Project Manager Erin Dilworth, and have been advocating for badly needed improvements to the Model Toxics Control Act (Washington’s environmental cleanup law).

There are also some AMAZING events coming up in June, so check down below to get the full scoop.

Meet the newest member of CHB’s Team: Erin Dilworth

Erin started back in April as Citizens for a Healthy Bay’s new Policy and Technical Program Manager. In her new role, Erin researches and analyzes environmental issues at the local and regional level, working closely with Citizens for a Healthy Bay’s Policy and Technical Advisory Committee.
Understanding the technical aspects behind public and environmental health issues is extremely important to the work we do, and by fully engaging in the public participation process – reviewing industry technical documents, providing public comment in written and oral testimony –  we can advocate for the health of the natural resources and people that call the Commencement Bay home.

Originally from Maryland, Erin received her B.S. in Wildlife Conservation and Natural Resource Management from the University of Delaware, and her M.S. in Natural Resource Management from Central Washington University. Most recently, Erin was a biologist studying forage fish ecology for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Welcome aboard, Erin!

Model Toxics Control Act

One of Citizens for a Healthy Bay’s (CHB) biggest priorities is advocating for and keeping a watchful eye over the cleanup of contaminated sites in Commencement Bay. These cleanup activities are regulated by the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) and the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) – Washington’s sister program to the federal Superfund program. Enacted in 1989, MTCA is well overdue for an upgrade, so Ecology recently opened a public scoping process to gauge what areas of MTCA need the most attention. We submitted comments on a wide variety of issues we see with the current layout of MTCA.

CHB urged Ecology to:

  • Create a Citizen’s Advisory Committee, which would boost engagement from community members who are most impacted by contaminated sites.
  • Incorporate broader notification for interim actions and early phases of cleanups.
  • Include environmental justice mapping in their planning and cleanup prioritization processes to ensure proper resources are provided to systemically underrepresented populations like tribes, communities of color, and low-income communities.
  • Reevaluate its Disproportionate Cost-Benefit Analysis method for prioritizing cleanups to more fully acknowledge the long-term public and environmental health impacts when considering cleanup fund allocation.
  • Create a protected funding account so that revenues used to aid in cleanups cannot be raided during State budget shortfalls.

The MTCA rule update will be a long process, but is one of the most vital rules that is necessary to achieve a cleaner Tacoma and Puget Sound. CHB will participate every step of the way and we’ll continue to advocate for more effective, safe and equitable cleanups in our community.

2nd Tacoma Roots Summit: Health Disparities in Pierce County

Tacoma Roots Banner-Logo

Join us on Thursday, May 31 at 6:00 p.m. for the second Tacoma Roots Summit. This time we’ll be discussing Health Disparities in Pierce County, especially as they negatively impact communities of color of folks who are facing economic adversity. We’re going to have two keynote speakers: first, Jacques Colon from the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, and second, ALL OF YOU.

For the second summit we’re going for an un-conference format, which means we’re inviting each other to be our teachers. Come to the summit with health topics you’re passionate or you want to learn more about, or just come with no ideas, but be ready to contribute in real time. We will facilitate this time in a way that leads everyone who attends to contribute to creating our learning groups. Whether you’re a speaker or a listener, we think this format will bring some really amazing ideas to the surface. We’re excited.

RSVP with the link below, invite a few friends with the link, learn more about the event with the link below.

Basically, click that link.

Photo of CHB's auction with logo

Back in April, we held our biggest fundraiser of the year, the Cheers to a Healthy Bay Dinner and Auction. A big THANK YOU to all our guests, sponsors, volunteers and partners who made the event successful.

We raised a net of $55,618 for Commencement Bay and South Puget Sound, which will be used for important advocacy work, education programs, and cleanups.

Here are some of our FAVORITE moments:

Northwest Seaport Alliance stormwater proposal

To meet the stormwater treatment requirements set by the Department of Ecology under the Industrial Stormwater General Permit, the Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) is proposing to install a stormwater collection and treatment system for the West Sitcum Marine Terminal. The facility is surrounded by the Commencement Bay, the Puyallup River, and the Sitcum Waterway. The treatment system will help to reduce pollution, particularly metal pollutants like copper and zinc. This is beneficial for human health, and this is also good news for the salmons because as they are very sensitive to these pollutants. Even at a low level of exposure, copper and zinc negatively affects their salmon reproduction, growth, and their ability to avoid predators.

NWSA has selected a Modular Wetland design for the treatment system. First, the stormwater will be pumped through a hydrodynamic separator, which will remove finer solids. Then, the stormwater will enter two identical treatment basins. The treated stormwater will be discharged into the West Sitcum Waterway through an existing outfall pipe. This treatment system will allow the West Sitcum Marine Terminal to meet permit benchmarks set by Ecology and reduce pollutants in our water. Way to go NWSA for helping to keep the water clean!

Thank you to our volunteers!

This past Sunday, we had seven volunteers who marked 150 storm drains in a single afternoon! They marked much of the Hilltop area of Tacoma, helping the community stay conscious about keeping as much pollution out of our waters as possible.

A second big thank you to all our volunteers this month who have helped with our Student Steward Conservation Project. Without you, we wouldn’t be able to offer students from Glacier Middle School and Jason Lee Middle School with environmental education to help them appreciate the importance of a clean environment.

We’re still looking for volunteers for the Student Stewards program at Jason Lee Middle School on May 29 and May 30, from 9:00a.m.-1:00p.m. each day. Please contact CHB’s Emily Pinckney if you are interested in volunteering.

Upcoming June Events

SEVENTY48: Don’t miss this historic race that’s happening right here in the Tacoma on June 11. The rules of the race are simple: no motors, no support, and no wind. The race starts in the Thea Foss Waterway, a former toxic cleanup site now turned into the starting point of a race with world-class racers!

Join us on our deck to watch the race take off from the mouth of the Foss Waterway. We’ll have a catered Cajun dinner, mojitos, and the best seats in the house as the racers enter Commencement Bay. RSVP here.

Tacoma Ocean Fest: New this year on June 10, the Tacoma Ocean Fest is a fun, FREE event on Tacoma’s waterfront celebrating our oceans and learning how to protect it through art, science, and fun! There are many ways to help pitch in for our environment! CHB is pulling together volunteers to do a beach cleanup – sign up to help by emailing Kenny Coble at Find out about more opportunities by visiting the Tacoma Ocean Fest website.

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