Marine science center seeks roofs for runoff study

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PORT TOWNSEND — The Port Townsend Marine Science Center is looking for a few good roofs for a stormwater runoff study.

The center, working with scientists at the University of Washington Center for Urban Waters, is leading a study of toxic chemicals of roof runoff.

Center personnel are seeking roofs from houses that have been built or re-roofed with composite (three-tab) roofing material within the past three years and which have metal rain gutters.

Sampling materials and training will be provided and volunteers will receive test results.

The sampling will be done one time only, during the first major rainfall this fall, according to Jamie Landry, citizen science coordinator for the e center.

UW scientists will process the samples, and Landry hopes to see results this winter.

The study needs some 10 to 15 Port Townsend area residences where water samples can be taken during a rainfall.

Volunteers also are being sought to be trained in advance to collect water samples on short notice.

“We want to involve the community in this opportunity to learn what potential toxic chemicals are entering our stormwater,” said Jean Walat, program director for the center.

“If you are unable to sample your own roof, but want it included in the study, a Port Townsend Marine Science Center volunteer or staffer can sample for you,” Walat added.

“Likewise, if your roof doesn’t qualify, but you’d like to volunteer, we welcome your participation.”

The marine science center initiated the study, which is funded by an Environmental Protection Agency Urban Waters grant, as part of its focus on toxic chemicals that are part of everyday activities.

The Puget Sound Partnership identified toxics in roofing materials as a suspected contributor to stormwater pollution in its 2012 State of the Sound report.

Roof runoff often flows into storm drains. If it contains pollutants, those go directly to marine waters.

Samples will be analyzed for a panel of about 35 chemicals, including many hydrocarbons and chemicals called phthalates that are found in plastics.

Center personnel also will train Seattle Aquarium volunteers to provide similar testing in the city.

For more information about the study — or to volunteer a roof or time — contact Landry at or call 360-385-5582, ext. 112.

The Port Townsend Marine Science Center, located on the beach at Fort Worden State Park, is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Monday.

Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for youth and free to center members.

For general information about the center, call 360.385.5582, e-mail or visit

Last modified: June 23. 2013 6:07PM
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