There’s a lot of talk about prefab revolutionizing the world of residential living, but when it comes down to it, prefab could be used all over the place.  This post shows how successful prefab could be in the commercial context.  Just as a little background, there’s a mall in San Diego, California, called Westfield University Towne Center, or Westfield UTC.  The mall has been around for some 30+ years, so it’s in the middle of an upgrade.  As part of the upgrade, Westfield UTC wants to incorporate environmentally friendly designs, so they retained kitHAUS to create a Visitors Center pavilion to showcase the "UTC Experience."  Basically, it’s a place for the community to interact with Westfield on design ideas for the mall remodel. 

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by Jani Gilbert, communication manager, Eastern Regional Office Beach at Harvard Road being capped in 2008. Sometime later in the summer, you may encounter a closed portion of the Centennial Trail — or construction in progress on a favorite little beach of yours. While the day’s plans may need to change, the good news is that when the work is done, that little beach area will be cleaner and safer for you and your family to use.

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by Larry Altose, communications manager, Northwest Regional Office Divers reached a significant milestone today in preparing to raise the sunken fishing vessel Deep Sea from the bottom of Penn Cove, near Coupeville on Whidbey Island. They were able to insert the lifting chain under the stern section of the boat and secure it in place.

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by Jani Gilbert, communication manager, Eastern Regional Office Photo showing a field using direct seeding. Photo showing a field using conventional tillage practices. “Direct seeding” is a major part of the solution for farmers who want to hold on to their soil and for protecting streams and rivers from polluting mud. An evaluation of farm practices in Spokane and Whitman counties this spring has confirmed that direct seeding is a major component in solving the problems of soil erosion on the farm and sediment pollution in the water.

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By Larry Altose, news media relations, Northwest Regional Office Contractors plan to begin raising the sunken fishing vessel Deep Sea off the bottom of Penn Cove, near Coupeville on Whidbey Island no sooner than Sunday, June 3. Divers have been preparing the vessel since Friday and will continue to do so through this week.

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By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Toxics Cleanup Program Next week, contractors will start taking samples at the R. G.

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by Tim Hill, Office of the Columbia River Do you have photos depicting Eastern Washington water use at home, at work, on the farm, or at your favorite fishing spot? Please consider submitting them to Ecology's new Flickr photo pool, "Water for People, Food, and Fish.

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By Dieter Bohrmann, Communications Consultant, Nuclear Waste Program John Price and I ventured down to Oregon State University (OSU) on February 23 to talk about Hanford with students and faculty, as well as other Corvallis residents. We were joined on the visit by Ken Niles from the Oregon Department of Energy, and Max Power, chair of the Oregon Hanford Cleanup Board.

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By Curt Hart, Communications Manager, Spills Program The Olympic Pipe Line Co shut down its 400-mile interstate liquid fuel pipeline system twice this past weekend after two separate fuel spills occurred at the company’s Mount Vernon control station. As we watch the oil industry change the way and type of oil that’s being moved around the nation – a good example is the proposed Keystone XL pipeline project — it’s good to know Olympic Pipe Line did the right thing by shutting down their pipeline until the causes of the small spills could be better understood.

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By Sandy Howard, communication manager, Environmental Assessment Program Algae blooms and impressive surface accumulations are showing up now in Puget Sound. See them for yourself in the latest installment of the Department of Ecology’s “Eyes Over Puget Sound.

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By Jeff Lyon, Nuclear Waste Program I have some questions as Ecology’s Tank Systems, Operations, and Closure Project Manager:

    How long should we wait to close the 149 single-shell tanks (SSTs) at Hanford? What are the risks to humans and the environment if we wait? If we wait for more money or better cleanup technologies (we may never get either), what should we do about the current soil contamination? What will it take to make our decision more certain?
The Draft Tank Closure and Waste Management Environmental Impact Statement (TC & WM EIS) shows that early soil cleanup will help reduce groundwater impacts. About 72 square miles of groundwater under Hanford are contaminated above drinking water standards now. But even if we start today, it will take time to see benefits to groundwater from soil cleanup. But as we wait for action, the conditions worsen. Part of the Tri-Party Agreement (TPA) is to prioritize Hanford cleanup, and the U. S. Department of Energy (USDOE) schedules that work. One of the TPA milestones is to close all SSTs by 2043. The first of seven waste management areas (WMAs), WMA-C, is scheduled to close by 2019. The schedule requires the remaining six WMAs to be finished in the following 24 years (about one every 4 years). We still have a very long way to go, which makes a good case for finishing WMA-C as soon as we can. I’m reminded of my high school shop teacher’s motto: You’re not done with your work until you clean up your mess.

All I need to know I learned in shop class

I came onto the tank farms project when USDOE was still performing interim stabilization of SSTs. Interim stabilization meant pumping out all the liquids to stop potential leaks, and that work is mostly done. However, dangerous chemical and radioactive sludge and solids still remain in the tanks. Hanford tank farm workers use Geiger counters to measure radiation. As a result of past interim stabilization efforts, hose-in-hose transfer lines were abandoned in many of the tank farms. They were all flushed with fresh water but unusable. They were past their service life, in the way of retrieval work, and had created tripping hazards. Then, while retrieving waste from a tank, a gasket in a hose-in-hose transfer line failed, which led to an investigation and enforcement actions. After this, the agencies realized that leaving the lines lying around was not good housekeeping, deciding they must all be removed and properly disposed. At about the same time, the double-shell tank upgrades were moving forward. When contractors opened old valve boxes, again hoses from transfers performed decades ago remained. Upgrades were more difficult because of the mess left behind. With those experiences in mind, I don’t want to leave an important step in tank closure half done. We need to finish WMA-C. We have done a lot of important work, including soil studies and closure planning. But work slowdowns and budget cuts continue to worry me. The TC & WM EIS confirms that the contamination is serious and that the groundwater problems we already face will worsen the longer we wait. So our advice to USDOE includes my shop teacher’s motto:
Don’t wait! Meet the scheduled deadlines for closing WMA-C. You’re not done until you finish cleaning up!

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by Miles Kuntz, E-Cycle Washington, Ecology Waste 2 Resources Program E-Cycle Washington may sound like a program for bike riders, but it’s not. In fact, it’s for everyone.

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By Ted Sturdevant, Ecology Director In the past several years, Washington's shellfish producers have seen significant increases in oyster larvae deaths. Some species aren't able to build their shells.

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By Seth Preston, Communication Managers, Toxics Cleanup Program KSER Radio (90.7 FM) in Everett is featuring an interview today and Tuesday (June 20-21) with Ecology’s baywide coordinator for cleanup work in and around Port Gardner Bay. Andy Kallus spoke last week with Karen Erickson, host of KSER’s “Seein’ Green” program, about Ecology’s work with local partners like the Port of Everett on cleaning up 10 sites around Port Gardner.

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By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Toxics Cleanup Program We’re currently asking the Bellingham community to look over and comment on plans for some upcoming cleanup work at two major sites. One is the Cornwall Avenue Landfill site, an old municipal waste repository literally on the shore of Bellingham Bay.

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By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Air Quality Program Ecology’s Air Quality Program and the Poulsbo Fire Department put together a neat project that will cut air pollution, protect people’s health and save taxpayers’ money. Poulsbo Fire is using a $39,000 grant from Ecology to install new idle reduction technology on some emergency vehicles.

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By Johanna Ofner, Carbon Smart Initiative; Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) Are you a teacher looking for resources to help students learn about climate change? Do you work for a local or state government agency and want to know what other agencies are doing about climate change education?

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By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Toxics Cleanup Program Cleanup work funded by federal stimulus dollars is in full swing at a Bothell convenience store and gas station. A crew from Snohomish-based Wyser Construction is removing gasoline-contaminated soil at the Bothell BP site.

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By Sandy Howard, Department of Ecology communications If anybody’s going to figure out how to solve pollution problems caused by rainwater runoff, it’s going to be Washington, right? It’s true: Our state is at the front of the pack in researching new tools and methods to protect our lakes, rivers and marine waters and aquatic life from polluted stormwater runoff.

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by the Puget Sound Partnership Some higher than normal tides will be coming May 16-18, creating an opportunity for great picture taking, and a hint at what impacts global sea-level rise might have on our area. While the early week tides are not "King Tides," which are the highest predicted high tides of the year, they are expected to be significantly higher than average.

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Whether you have a knack for filmmaking or just want to keep your friends and family healthy this summer, now is your chance to get creative. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is sponsoring a healthy swimming video contest as part of Recreational Water Illness and Injury Prevention Week (May 23-27).

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BEACH Program Update Do you love seeing trash, dirty diapers, or dog poop on your favorite beach? Neither do we.

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BEACH Program Update It’s Recreational Water Illness and Injury Prevention Week and that means it’s time to take a look at what you’re doing to protect yourself at the beach. Recreational water illnesses and injuries can happen to anyone; you can protect yourself by being informed and taking steps to stay safe.

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BEACH Program Update

Sunscreen? Check. Swimsuit? Check. Water sampling results? Check!

The sun is peeking out from behind the clouds and the weather is finally warming up, which means it’s time to check the health status of your favorite swimming beach. Starting this week, we’re hitting the beaches of Puget Sound and the Pacific coast to kick off the 2011 swimming beach sampling season. More than 70 popular marine beaches in Washington will be monitored all summer and the results posted on the BEACH Program website each week. While most of our beaches are sampled by BEACH Program partners in your local health agency, some are sampled by volunteers with organizations like the Surfrider Foundation and the WSU Extension Beach Watchers. The Washington BEACH Program monitors public marine swimming beaches in Washington and gets the word out to beachgoers through a website, Facebook page, Twitter feed, blog, and email listserv.

Fecal Matters

What exactly are we looking for in the water? Poop! We test for an indicator bacteria that lets us know if there’s poop in the water. If there is, you could get sick from the bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants that might be there, too. Nobody wants to end their day on the beach with swimmer’s itch, diarrhea, or worse. You can keep yourself safe by checking to see if your beach is being monitored and paying attention to signs on the beach. Just like a traffic light, colored BEACH Program signs let you know if you should stop and avoid water contact, be careful and be aware of potential risks, or go enjoy.

Get Involved

Let us know where you think we should monitor next year! We’re always looking for suggestions so if you know a popular beach that we’ve missed, let us know. Jessica Bennett is the Acting BEACH Program Manager and can be reached at jessica. bennett@ecy. wa. gov

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By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Toxics Cleanup Program Work is finished on the largest cleanup project yet tackled under the Puget Sound Initiative. That’s the $34 million cleanup of the former Scott Paper mill site on the Anacortes waterfront on the shore of Fidalgo Bay.

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By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Toxics Cleanup Program A number of news items to catch up on...

    First, here’s a reminder of Friday’s big celebration of the wrap-up of the largest cleanup project to date under the Puget Sound Initiative — the former Scott Paper mill site on the Anacortes waterfront on the shore of Fidalgo Bay. Here’s a notice from the Port of Anacortes about the event. Next, the Seattle Times has this tale of the possible discovery of a doomed ship at the bottom of the Sound. Divers believe they found the Dix, a steamer that sank in 1906 after it collided with a freighter. Dozens of people were killed. The Herald in Everett explores the continuing effort to remove abandoned crab pots from Port Gardner Bay near Everett. This is an issue throughout Puget Sound, because the old pots can trap and kill crabs that are never harvested for human consumption. The North Kitsap Herald reports on the reopening of the Poulsbo Marine Science Center. The Kitsap Sun recently reported on cleanup efforts in Sinclair and Dyes inlets. Here’s the original story, which a follow-up blog by reporter Chris Dunagan. Dunagan also offer this blog post about a new look for the Puget Sound Science Update from the Puget Sound Partnership.

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By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Toxics Cleanup Program On a picture-perfect sunny day, Anacortes-area residents flocked to the shore of Fidalgo Bay today to officially welcome the community's newest addition. The Port of Anacortes hosted a celebration for the formal reopening of Seafarers' Memorial Park on the land that once housed Scott Paper mills.

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By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Air Quality Program Ecology is working to delay the reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of biomass and other biofuels to fall in line with federal rules. Ecology recently updated two rules, Chapters 173-400 and 173-401 WAC, to comply with the U.

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By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Air Quality Program It’s already pretty clear that it’s good to recycle and compost waste materials when possible, instead of throwing them in the garbage or burning them. For example, recycled materials are used in a variety of consumer goods and in other ways.

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By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Air Quality Program It’s national Air Quality Awareness Week (May 2-6), and the U. S.

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By Ann-Marie Sweeten, Water Resources Program, IT Section Manager Information on more than 230,000 active water right and claim records in Washington State is now available at your fingertips! Ecology recently released an interactive Web map providing direct public access to all water right records in the Water Resources Program database.

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By Brook Beeler, Environmental Educator, Office of Communication and Education Brook Beeler explaining how to use this habitat map to Kindergarten students. Happy Earth Week!

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By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Toxics Cleanup Program We're gearing up for a new round of work to clean up the legacy contamination left in Everett by the old Asarco smelter. The Asarco smelter, which operated in Everett in the early 1900s, caused widespread arsenic and lead contamination in northeast Everett.

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