By Pepper Fisher

PORT ANGELES – The City of Port Angeles will soon be implementing a new ordinance that requires businesses to take measures to stop pollutants from entering the stormwater system.

The new program is a requirement of the state Department of Ecology, and is expected to go into effect later this year. But not before the public has had a chance to look it over.

The code update is available online for review and public comment.

Port Angeles City Engineer Jonathan Boehme says they’re developing a list of businesses that will be asked to schedule a visit by an inspector.

“The list of businesses that have been identified for this program are things like manufacturing, auto detailers, fuel stations, restaurants, repair and maintenance shops, hospitals, transportation hubs, warehouses and contractor staging areas. And there’re some other ones, but those are the primary focus of the program.”

The inspection will not be free. Businesses will be billed somewhere around $250. Businesses can expect to be inspected every 5 years or so.

Will the new ordinance require expensive changes?

“We anticipate the majority of the sites will experience little to no impact. Simple behavior change is really the primary focus of the program. For example, we mop something up and what do we do with that bucket of dirty water? You know, instead of dumping it down the gutter line out front or into a catch basin, dumping it into a sewer drain instead, is a good example.”

The pollutants that Ecology is asking cities to focus are fertilizers, oil and grease, washwater, etc., that originate from daily business activities, spill incidents and improper disposal, by implementing Best Management Practices, or BMPs.

“It’s really important, because all contaminated runoff, stormwater, it goes directly to our local streams and waterways. It doesn’t get any kind of treatment beforehand. And so, really the most cost-effective storm water solution is, control pollutants at the source. And this program is really geared towards trying to find ways to enhance our natural environment around us.”

Here is the list of businesses and activities that will be included in this program, the link to the draft ordinance itself, and the email address (Vmcintyr@cityofpa.us) where you can send your comments and feedback. Unfortunately, those emails are due no later than tomorrow, May 27.