In 2015, the Port started on the Stormwater Treatment System Improvement project for the Charleston Shipyard. Joe Caruso, Port Development Project Manager, is running point on the project and working together with John Buckley, Fred Jacquot, and Rick Adamek.  This project was brought about by more stringent requirements from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The purpose of the project is to install a new system to prevent hazardous materials from leaking into local waterways such as the South Slough and Joe Ney Slough.

Although we may not really pay attention to it, stormwater affects all of us. Have you ever noticed that many roads we drive on are curved? This is so stormwater can run off to the sides of the roads into the drain preventing water buildup. In the shipyard’s case, stormwater is the precipitation that falls on the industrial facility that requires treatment before being discharged into a body of water. The two prevalent minerals of concern for the Charleston Shipyard are zinc and copper.

Currently, our shipyard has a passive stormwater system in which there are four outfalls throughout the shipyard in which water flows into, gets treated, and then released. The Charleston Shipyard will soon welcome a state of the art stormwater treatment system!  The Port will be investing approximately $750,000 in the new system, which will be one of the first systems of its kind to be implemented on the Oregon Coast.  The Oregon International Port of Coos Bay is committed to environmental stewardship, and operates the Charleston Shipyard in a manner consistent with Clean Boatyard programs. The new project proposes an active system in which all stormwater would get pumped to, treated, and stored in a single treatment system. The current engineering phase of the project will help determine where this active stormwater treatment system will be placed. The design engineer for the project is Aquarius Environmental, LLC and the supplier for the actual stormwater treatment system is Clear Creek Systems, Inc. 

The technology that the new system utilizes is called Chitosan Enhanced Sand Filtration to filter the stormwater runoff before it enters South Slough and Joe Ney Slough. It may have a strange name, but it will make significant improvements to the quality of the water entering the sloughs.  Once this system is in installed, the chemical impacts in treated stormwater will be reduced by 50% or more!!!  As with most Shipyards, ours was constructed with a passive filtration system.  The updated system will actively treat the stormwater, minimizing the presence of metals and other unwanted elements. 

Over time, DEQ regulations and requirements for stormwater runoff quality have become increasingly stringent.  The new filtration system will ensure that the Port meets all current water quality standards in the shipyard.  The system’s design also allows for expansion, which will be of significant benefit to the Port if the Shipyard’s footprint expands in the future, while also giving us a leg up in meeting future changes in stormwater quality standards.

The new stormwater system will specifically target two metals; copper, frequently used in the paints to prevent the growth of subaquatic organisms, and zinc, which is used in anodes to prevent corrosion of other metal components of the boat such as propellers.  Because shipyards are all about the construction and maintenance of boats, there is often higher presence of these metals in stormwater runoff.  As an added bonus, the system is also designed to significantly reduce the amounts of other elements in the water, including anything petroleum related, fecal coliform, and other metals. 

So, how does it work?  The system collects water in the asphalt sections of the shipyard into four collection vaults.  The water is channeled to two 21,000-gallon storage tanks.  From there, it is pumped to the new system for treatment.  Once the water is treated, it is discharged into either the Joe Ney Slough or the South Slough. 

A new active stormwater system in the Charleston Shipyard will have long term benefits not only for the Port and its customers but also for the whole Charleston community. The improved water quality of the South Slough and Joe Ney slough will provide a cleaner environment for the animals and people who use the slough. As environmental stewards of our local waterways, it’s important for the Port to conduct projects like these so that we and the Charleston community can continue to conduct business many years to come.

For more information on the Storm Water RFP's, click here