Dam operator fined $501K for polluting Puyallup River

The News Tribune

The Washington Department of Ecology has fined dam operator Electron Hydro, LLC, $501,000 for discharging discarded plastic field turf into the Puyallup River.

Pieces of the artificial turf were found up to 21 miles (34 kilometers) downstream while deposits of ground-up tire rubber are believed to have entered into Commencement Bay in Tacoma, 41 miles (66 kilometers) downstream, Ecology said in a Tuesday news release.

The turf and its crumb rubber material are toxic when ingested by fish and other aquatic life. The Puyallup is home to protected endangered species including steelhead, bull trout and Chinook, a critical food source for endangered southern resident orcas, The Seattle Times reported.