Skip to content

Documenting Stormwater Pollution

2012 November 14
by Shared by Steve Rust

Seattle area cinematographer Laura James has been diving into the waters of Puget Sound with her camera to document the effects of highly-polluting stormwater runoff.  James is a self-taught freelance filmmaker who leads an educational campaign called Don’t Feed the Tox-Ick Monster to raise awareness about the negative impacts of chemicals, fertilizer, pet feces, petroleum and other toxins that make their way from city streets into local water ways during the rainy season.  City streets are made to be impermeable surfaces  so they can withstand heavy car and truck traffic without deteriorating. The problem is that toxic substances run directly into drains and waterways rather than being absorbed into the ground our through wetlands where water can be cleaned.  The problem is exacerbated during periods of heavy rain when sewer systems cannot handle the flows and so dirty water is dumped directly into the Sound and other waterways.  EarthFix (linked in our blogroll), an environmental news website associated with Oregon Public Broadcasting, has a terrific in-depth feature on the efforts of James to document the problem and related efforts of a team of researchers at Washington State University led by Jennifer McIntyre to develop solutions such as “green streets” that direct water flow through specially designed gardens that filter out toxins before they enter waterways.  Here is a link to the EarthFix article “How We Got Into Such a Mess With Stormwater” and (below) a video on the issue produced by EarthFix for the OPB show Oregon Field Guide. I’m hoping that Laura will be able to make it down to the University of Oregon after the new year to meet with students in the Environmental Leadership Program who will be documenting the various ways the McKenzie River is important to the ecology and economy of the Willamette Valley.


No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS