Resort facilities

Olympia to inspect city facilities and businesses for water pollution

By Lorilyn C. Lirio

Olympia will begin inspections of facilities and commercial sites in the city to identify and prevent the possible source of water pollution in January next year through the city’s source control program.

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Coordinator Jeremy Graham and Susan McCleary of Olympia Public Works Water Resources Division briefed members of the Utilities Advisory Committee on the program, which has started in 2020.

According to Graham, the primary goal of the source control program is to prevent and reduce pollutants in runoff from areas that discharge into the city’s stormwater system and to help ensure that City properties and business operations comply with environmental regulations.

“We will also work with private business owners and property owners and managers to help them achieve compliance by providing technical assistance and guidance, as well as further education and outreach,” Graham said.

Graham said there would be requirements for operations and best structural management practices (BMP) at city and corporate sites.

He defined BMPs as “schedules and activities, prohibitions and practices, maintenance procedures, and structural and management practices approved by Ecology that, when used alone or in combination, prevent or reduce the release of pollutants and other adverse effects to Washington State waters.”

BMPs that prevent pollution include operational and structural activities such as:

  • Cover stored or stockpiled materials with tarps or shelters.
  • Regular sweeping and cleaning of equipment storage spaces and dumpster areas.
  • Train staff to understand and take appropriate action to prevent pollution.
  • Construction of permanent structural treatment facilities on the property if operational BMPs are ineffective.

Inspection

“Prior to working with private companies, we plan to work with our internal staff to educate them on the program to help them understand their role and requirements and to ensure our properties and operations are compliant,” Graham said. to committee members.

The inspection will begin with city-owned facilities. Then they will start doing inspections on the sites of private companies.

The program has an inventory of about 105 public sites and 570 private sites, of which McCleary said they are required to inspect at least 20%, or about 130 site inspections, per year.

Using Google’s satellite and windshield surveys, McCleary said the program categorizes all sites as high, medium or low priority to ensure they identify and address areas with the greatest potential. pollution.

“We may not be able to reach all sites in the permit cycle,” McCleary explained, adding that some low-priority sites would likely not be inspected and receive pollution prevention materials.

The program will work with Olympia Code Enforcement, LOTT Clean Water Alliance and Thurston County Environmental Health.

“We understand Olympia businesses have been struggling economically since the onset of COVID,” McCleary commented. “We want to make sure that we implement this program in a way that focuses on providing information and resources to businesses to bring them into compliance and use law enforcement as a last resort.”