Oregon does not have the same level of interest in diving as the calmer “inside coast” or Puget Sound region of Washington. But on both coasts, stormwater outfalls are common features off of communities.
So it is no surprise that a Seattle-based diver named Laura James and a couple of buddies took video cameras down to where one West Seattle storm drain empties into Elliot Bay. With that camera, they captured some sobering footage that was highlighted on the local NPR station’s (KPLU) blog.
Even as a somewhat jaded watershed professional–I found this a sobering reminder of why it’s important to move away from the typical approach of “piping and dumping” the stormwater somewhere else. Instead, we need to move towards techniques that emphasize infiltration and processing of stormwater by natural systems such as those embodied by the phrase Low Impact Development.