If you’ve been following the Port of Vancouver USA, you’ve probably heard about our innovative approach to stormwater management. From our employee-created Grattix to our stormwater bio-filtration facilities, our Environmental Services department works hard to bring efficient and cost-efficient environmental practices to life. Recent test results are showing that these practices are even more effective, cost-efficient and durable than initially expected.

The Grattix and Terminal 2 stormwater bio-filtration facility were constructed in 2009 to treat high levels of copper and zinc in stormwater runoff. Since they were the first of their kind, port staff couldn’t be sure just how long their lifespans would be and what kind of reduction levels would be seen.

Both treatment systems have been tested regularly to see what types of metals they’re collecting and how the organic, locally sourced elements that comprise these systems hold up to the metals over time. Those test results show that both the Grattix and stormwater bio-filtration facility had more detectable metals in their uppermost layers, meaning they were performing exceptionally well at capturing less-dense metals than other stormwater treatment systems. The tests also showed that the systems could have a life of at least 30 years and maintenance would be minimal, as only the top layers would need to be replaced.

Port Environmental Manager Matt Graves shared the success of these programs at StormCon, an annual conference and expo dedicated to surface water quality. This year, hundreds of attendees from around the world gathered in Bellevue, WA, to share and learn about best practices, including the success of the port’s stormwater treatment systems.

The Port of Vancouver believes that environmental stewardship and economic development go hand-in-hand. The creativity and ingenuity of our employees allows us to help that happen, so we can continue creating jobs while protecting this special place we all call home.