The Pierce County executive wants to see the removal of the Electron Dam on the Puyallup River, after its owners, Electron Hydro, LLC, polluted the river with sheets of artificial turf during a recent construction project.
About 600 square yards of the 2,400 yards of turf, which was laid down on the riverbed in sheets, disintegrated into coffee-ground-sized rubber particles, filling up the river and flowing all the way to its mouth in the Puget Sound.
Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier said that this was not an innocent mistake — the turf was used without permission and without being documented in the proper permitting steps. Electron Hydro crews took the rolled-up sheets of turf from a dump site near the Electron Dam, where they had sat for years.
“This was not a construction project that went wrong,” Dammeier said. “This was an operator that willfully decided to depart from the approved approach and use an unapproved, hazardous, polluting material, and put it in the river.”
Puyallup River filled with debris from artificial turf at construction site
It is unknown how exactly the turf may hurt the animals and plants in the river, but scientists at the University of Washington are currently analyzing the tiny pieces of rubber to find that out.
Dammeier said he worries about the harm it could do to salmon ahead of the fall migration. Chinook are the main food source of the endangered Southern Resident orcas, and their declining population is one reason that the Southern Residents are struggling to survive.
“This is

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