Equinox “Industrial Strength” Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) demonstration site improves water quality

ECOSS and Equinox Studios joined forces to develop a first of-its-kind, large-scale industrial GSI demonstration site. The Equinox “Industrial Strength” GSI demonstration site showcases stormwater solutions that can be adopted by any industrial or manufacturing business to improve water quality from rainwater pollution.

ECOSS is collaborating with businesses to install innovative stormwater solutions

ECOSS staff are available to provide businesses in the area with technical and planning support to install rainwater cisterns, rain gardens, Grattixes, oyster barrel cisterns or permeable paving systems. Grant funding is now available for businesses located in the Green-Duwamish valley, with additional funding to support BIPOC or women-owned businesses. Contact ECOSS to learn more and schedule an appointment to discuss your property and stormwater concerns.

What’s the Problem?

Polluted rainwater runoff is the leading source of pollution in Puget Sound. A 2015 study showed that local stormwater runoff from urban roadways is so toxic, it can kill an adult coho salmon in as little as 2½ hours. The effects are far reaching on the economy, community health and the environment, particularly our resident orca populations.

Heavy metals, fertilizer and other toxicants are ferried into Puget Sound during heavy storms.

During heavy rains, municipal stormwater systems are frequently overwhelmed, resulting in flooded streets, communities and businesses. Rainwater running off roofs and streets picks up contaminants like heavy metals before flowing into our water bodies like Puget Sound, Lake Washington and the Duwamish River.

Much of south Seattle experiences seasonal flooding due to overburdened stormwater systems. Flooding can damage property, disrupt business operations, cause erosion, degrade infrastructure and make stormwater permit compliance difficult.

Mitigating stormwater pollution

Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) offers a range of sustainable solutions that mitigate threats posed by polluted stormwater and flooding. Green infrastructure such as cisterns, rain gardens, vegetated walls and permeable pavement help reduce overflows by reducing the volume of stormwater entering the drainage system and removing pollutants through settling, filtration and absorption.

Co Lam Temple’s cisterns mitigate flooding and provide water for gardens.

ECOSS creates GSI demonstration sites to illustrate a wide-range of technologies, products, techniques, maintenance requirements and pricing. These functional outdoor learning sites help decision-makers evaluate what’s right for their property and budget.

Tailoring stormwater solutions to businesses

For more information, or to schedule an Equinox site visit or tour, contact info@ecoss.org | (206) 767-0432, ext. 1001

Standard GSI installations are not always feasible for business properties. Rain gardens, for example, are popular among residents, but also require significant space, which might encroach on business operations. If businesses are to adopt stormwater solutions, GSI must be tailored to fit their unique needs and challenges.

Grattix boxes perform the same function as a rain garden and are contained in a portable box with a smaller footprint than traditional rain gardens. Photo Credit: William Chen / ECOSS.

In 2018, ECOSS partnered with Equinox Studios to develop a first of-its-kind, large-scale industrial GSI demonstration site. The site showcases new and emerging industrial GSI solutions that can be adopted by any industrial or manufacturing business. When finished, Equinox GSI will collect stormwater from 62,000 square feet of roof space and passively filter 1.3 million gallons of water annually.

Equinox Studios attracts over 18,000 visitors per year. Located in the industrial heart of Seattle, the studio is ideally situated to promote GSI to local industrial businesses and communities.

Thank you Aspect Consulting, PureBlue and Equinox Studios for supporting this work.

Additional support for the Equinox GSI project was provided by the Boeing Company, King County Flood Control District, BNSF and the Puget Sound Stewardship and Mitigation fund, a grant making fund created by the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance and administered by the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment. The Port of Seattle provided in-kind contributions of materials.