Suquamish Tribe files intent to sue U.S. Navy for repeated sewage spills

The Tribe gave military officials 60-days notice of their intent to file a lawsuit

  • Tuesday, June 11, 2019 1:58pm
  • News

On Tuesday, the Suquamish Tribe announced its intention to sue the U.S. Navy for repeatedly releasing raw sewage into the Puget Sound.

In a letter dated June 10, the Tribe gave military officials 60-days notice of their intent to file a lawsuit under the Clean Water Act, which prohibits discharging pollutants without a permit.

“According to public records currently available to the Tribe, the Navy discharged hundreds of thousands of gallons of untreated sewage from Naval Base Kitsap in repeated incidents over the past five years and beyond,” the press release states.

“The waters of the Sinclair Inlet and the entire Salish Sea are the Tribe’s most treasured resource. We are obliged to protect these waters, not only for us but for all who rely on them for work, recreation, and identity,” said the Suquamish Tribe’s Chairman Leonard Forsman.

“We ask the Navy to uphold the highest standards of protection for Liberty Bay, Dyes inlet, Sinclair Inlet, Port Orchard Passage, and all the water ways that support both human and marine life. We call on the Navy to invest in the infrastructure necessary to support their operations.”

In an email sent on Tuesday, Naval Base Kitsap Public Affairs Officer Jake Chappelle said the Navy was aware of the Tribe’s notice of intent to sue, but would not provide any comment on the matter.

“We are aware of the Suquamish Tribe’s notice of intent to sue the Navy,” Chappelle said. “The Navy cannot comment on pending litigation.”

The 60-day notice was addressed to Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, Navy Secretary Richard Spencer, Naval Base Kitsap Commander Capt. Edward Schrader, and Puget Sound Naval Shipyard Commander Capt. Howard Markle. The Tribe notified the Navy that it is responsible for at least eleven significant illegal discharges of untreated sewage into Tribe’s treaty-protected fishing areas.

“We value and respect the service of our local Sailors and Marines, and we treasure the relationship we enjoy with the wider U.S. Military and veteran communities,” Forsman said. “However, the dumping of sewage waste into Puget Sound must stop.”

Past sewage discharges by the Navy have repeatedly resulted in the posting of health advisories and the closure of beaches in Kitsap County, some of which are used by Suquamish tribal members to harvest shellfish.

More in News

Families drive through to pick up materials, meals in BI

Lines of cars wrapped around Sonoji Sakai Intermediate School Friday as families… Continue reading

State economy gains jobs in August

The Evergreen State’s economy had another positive month of job gains and… Continue reading

Man arrested on drug, firearms charges

A Port Angeles man was arrested Tuesday in Port Gamble on suspicion… Continue reading

Taught remotely, students’ lights still burn bright

Learning continues in novel ways, even without a traditional classroom

Contact tracing effective in reducing COVID-19 spread, KPHD says

Contact tracing is triggered when a person tests positive for COVID-19

Residential, commercial property value notices going out Monday

‘Change of value’ notifications being distributed by Kitsap County assessor

Burglary, ID theft charges filed in court against Doll

Port Orchard suspect stands before Kitsap County Superior Court judge Thursday

Redmond captain now Poulsbo police chief

Ron Harding has been named the new Poulsbo police chief, Mayor Becky… Continue reading

Marion Forsman-Boushie Early Learning Center balances caring for big and little kids

The Marion Forsman-Boushie Early Learning Center in Suquamish has had to make… Continue reading

Most Read