Dozen stormwater projects to split $5.7M in Ecology grants

By Stephanie Rice, Columbian Vancouver city government reporter

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The Washington Department of Ecology has awarded $68 million in grants for 117 stormwater construction projects statewide, and $5.7 million will be used for a dozen local projects.

Clark County received funding for six projects, the city of Vancouver received money for three projects, the Port of Vancouver received money for two projects and the city of Camas received funding for one project.

The funding was part of the state’s economic stimulus bill and meant to help the most populated communities manage polluted runoff and repair broken stormwater systems.

The money comes from a tax paid by wholesale distributors of petroleum and other hazardous materials, said Sandy Howard, a spokeswoman for the Department of Ecology.

“Our local governments are financially strapped, and I’m proud that our state can provide this funding,” said Gov. Chris Gregoire. “This money will give communities new jobs, cleaner water and much-needed help for following stormwater permit requirements.”

The federal government regulates runoff, a major source of water pollution containing toxic metals, oil, grease, pesticides, herbicides and bacteria that run off buildings and pavement into fish-bearing streams.

The state’s most-populated counties and cities are required to manage polluted runoff under the state’s municipal stormwater permit program.

Among Clark County’s six funded projects, the two most expensive are the Thomas Wetland East Stormwater Facility in the headwaters area of Burnt Bridge Creek. The restorative project will improve water quality and flow control, and was awarded $1 million. The county will receive $963,079 for Parkside Manor Stormwater Facility Expansion, which will reduce pollutants in Whipple Creek and improve flow control for 26 acres of residential development.

The Port of Vancouver received $1 million to put toward its Terminal 4 stormwater pond retrofit project.

The city of Vancouver’s largest grant was for $562,000 to retrofit 50 drywells and trenches to improve stormwater treatment and reduce the risk of contaminating groundwater.

Stephanie Rice: 360-735-4508 or stephanie.rice@columbian.com.