Monday, February 13, 2012

Saving industries from birds and small animals

It seemed logical in 2009:  protect sensitive waters by clamping rigid numerical limits on how much bacteria can be discharged under industrial storm-water permits.
“At that time we thought that this wouldn’t affect any of the industries, because most of our industries do not generate bacteria as part of their process,” the Department of Ecology’s Don Seeberger told the House Environment Committee.
But they forgot about the birds and animals that hang around industrial sites. What’s actually happening, Seeberger said, is that birds, rodents, and other small animals “basically deposit bacteria, and it runs off in their storm water.” As a result, the critters’ deposits prevented the vast majority of industries from meeting the bacteria limits despite their best efforts. Fortunately, the Department of Ecology had a solution.
“The Department of Ecology asked me to sponsor this fix to the storm-water bacteria problem that will protect our waters without shutting down industries or jobs,” said Rep. Larry Springer , the Deputy Majority Leaders for Jobs & Economic Development.
On Friday, the House agreed, unanimously passing Springer’s House Bill 2651. If the bill becomes law, the problem will be solved without the loss of a single job, or bird.

To read this story in Spanish, click here.