Port of Edmonds committed to environmental stewardship

By Bob McChesney, Executive Director
The Port of Edmonds

The Port of Edmonds was green long before green was anything other than a hue on the color palette. As a marina operator, your Port has always viewed preservation of the environment as an important part of its focus.

There are a thousand boats of various sizes moored here, mainly in the water, so there are at least a thousand opportunities for environmental pollution.

Virtually every one of those thousand vessels utilizes a gasoline or diesel engine, either as its primary power source or as an auxiliary. Engines burn petroleum products and are lubricated with oil. The Port has very strict “best practices” policies that govern how these products may be used and disposed of.

There are approved, safe disposal areas for discarded pollutants and, in the event of an accidental discharge into the water, we have emergency equipment to contain and remove the material before it can affect the marine environment.

Vessels that are moored or used extensively in saltwater have special bottom paint that minimizes plant and animal growth on the boat’s bottom. The bottom of every boat that is hauled out of the water—before going to our workyard, for example—goes through an immediate and extensive cleaning process.

The residue and organic growth on the bottom is immediately pressure washed off and the water and sloughed-off material is filtered and processed to remove solids and chemical pollutants. Periodically, that material is shipped to a government-approved hazardous waste site.

The workyard itself has a high pollution potential. To address this, all vessels are “tented” to contain airborne contaminants and the solid leavings are collected in our stormwater processing facility. The process leaves the water environmentally safe for discharge into the Sound.

When it comes to protecting the environment, no detail is too small. There are recycling stations throughout the marina and we have recently reduced our carbon footprint by having our security staff make their nightly rounds by bicycle. Not only does this reduce the amount of hydrocarbon pollution, but it also significantly increases both the speed and effectiveness of response.

We are currently considering changing much of our Port lighting to low energy LED equipment. Soon even the Port Weather Station will become greener, as well. We will be installing solar panels on the roof of the station, so the entire facility will be energy independent.

One of the most environmentally sensitive areas in Edmonds is the Edmonds Marsh. Because it borders our property, the impact on the marsh will be a major consideration in any redevelopment plan for Harbor Square. Additionally, we are working with the City and Friends of the Marsh on plans for daylighting Willow Creek, which will return the marsh to its original saltwater state.

Over the years, the Port of Edmonds has led the way in environmental stewardship and we are committed to continuing to do so. It is our world and we are serious about taking care of it.

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