2018 Year in Review: Seattle Environment News by the Numbers

We banned straws, made tree cutters pay and sweated through another smoky, hot summer in Seattle

This article appears in print in the December 2018 issue, as part of the Year in Review featureClick here to subscribe.


The amount of treated or untreated gallons of vessel sewage now allowed in Puget Sound; the waters were designated a “no dump zone” by the Washington State Department of Ecology in May.


The number of wildfires in Washington that the state’s Department of Natural Resources had responded to as of press time. Wildfires in Washington and British Columbia contributed to making 2018 the worst year ever for air quality in the state’s history.


The amount a landowner was fined for draining, clearing and filling 1.5 acres of protected forested wetlands in Pierce County—lands that will take decades to restore. Altogether, the homeowners cleared 153 trees on more than an acre.


The number of critically endangered southern resident orcas that remain in Puget Sound, the lowest number since 1984.


The average high temperature in July, the new record high for the month.


The average high temperature logged at Sea-Tac airport this summer, making it the second-hottest summer on record. 


Gallons of sewage spilled into Sinclair Inlet (a Kitsap County arm of Puget Sound) in August, thanks to a blocked sewer line at Naval Base Kitsap.


Major U.S. city—Seattle—to enact a ban on plastic straws. The ban went into effect in July. 


The amount nine West Seattle homeowners were fined for illegally chopping down greenbelt trees between late 2015 and 2016 to improve their views; two other couples were previously fined as part of this. 

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The West Seattle Bridge may not be open until 2021; the Farmers Markets are starting to come back, and the Tulip festival would like you to stay home, please. All the news you missed in between reading about coronavirus.