The state Department of Ecology has fined Seattle Tunnel Partners, the consortium of firms that is building the deep-bore tunnel on the downtown waterfront, $2,000 for violating state and federal clean-water laws, PubliCola has learned.
According to the penalty notice Ecology sent to STP, the tunnel builders "discharged controlled density fill"—a type of drilling slurry made primarily of water and concrete—"into the City of Seattle's storm water sewer system through four catch basins located on the SR 99 bored tunnel construction project." Cement products make water more alkaline and can harm marine life.
The storm drain into which STP discharged flows directly into Elliott Bay.
DOE spokesman Larry Altose says violations of the state clean water act can draw fines of up to $10,000 a day, but adds, "We generally don't go to the max first thing."
That said, "even though STP has improved its oversight to prevent these and other material from getting into the storm drains, we believed it proper to hold them accountable for the violations that did occur," Altose says.
STP has 30 days to pay the fine or appeal to the state Pollution Control Hearings Board.