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$125,000 in pollution fines to help Duwamish salmon

US - The $125,000 in water-pollution penalties levied against Sound Transit will be used to fund seven projects to help the beleaguered Duwamish River, and its beleaguered salmon.

Robin Clark is the habitat-restoration-project manager for People for Puget Sound, which will oversee seven restoration projects for the Duwamish River.

The sizable number of violations with which the agency was cited — more than two dozen in 2005-06 — came from the construction of the highly-touted "green" light-rail that will connect downtown Seattle to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, and ease traffic congestion.

But the light rail lost some of its greenness when polluted storm water from the project ended up in the Duwamish.

In some instances, this was created when it rained after concrete had been poured but not set, and there was runoff, said Bruce Gray, spokesman for Sound Transit.

"On a major construction project like this, we do the best we can to make sure contractors meet all of our environmental permit requirements, but, unfortunately, things like this happen," Gray said.

The state's Department of Ecology said such runoff can muddy up spawning areas, suffocating salmon eggs; and clog gills, making it harder for salmon and other fish to breathe.

Source: TheSeattleTimes