Saving the Sound with ‘green infrastructure’: Meeting tomorrow

April 5, 2011 at 1:34 pm | In Environment, Sunrise Heights, West Seattle news, Westwood | 9 Comments

(March 10 WSB photo)
That’s the east side of Westside School in the backdrop of our photo from last month, showing a drilling crew out doing preliminary testing for King County’s “green stormwater infrastructure” project to reduce combined-sewer overflows into Puget Sound – and Westside is where county staffers will be tomorrow night for a community meeting updating the plan. While hundreds of households in Sunrise Heights and Westwood will be directly affected, thousands more may be interested for a variety of reasons, and you don’t have to be part of the project area (map here) to attend. The meeting is set for 6:30-8 pm tomorrow (Wednesday, April 6) at Westside, which is at 7740 34th SW; you can read more about the proposal (which is still under environmental review) on the King County Wastewater Treatment Division website.


  1. I am super excited about this and plan on going to the meeting. While I live just outside the area (literally two blocks away) I wish we could afford to do this kind of work everywhere instead of costly detention plants that we have to build for a whole variety of reasons (most interestingly because of steep slopes as you head down to Lincoln Park – hills can’t hold that much water or they will slide). I cannot wait to hear what this work will entail.

    Comment by kgdlg — 1:47 pm April 5, 2011 #

  2. I hope that our neighbors and friends east of 35th in Sunrise Heights and Westwood are aware of this meeting.
    Apparently they have received a mailing regarding this, but I expect a far smaller less informed, less organized less NIMBY, and less outraged than their neighbors down on the water-front whose NIMBYSTIC howling carried all the way to city hall and the county politicians.
    The homeowners with money, connections and clout have foisted this option on the unknowing, less involved, lower class neighborhoods of Westwood and Sunrise Heights.
    The all powerful Fauntleroy and Lohman Beachies will no doubt complain about construction inconveniences in their hamlets, but these will be dwarfed by the process Westwood and the Heights will experience.
    Yes, Lohman will lose a few rental houses that are not really considered a part of their home-owning community.
    For those that are already claiming this will increase property values, why did you not make that point when these remedies were proposed in your hood? I was at the meetings when they were so outraged at such a proposal for their streets.

    Comment by Nulu — 9:41 am April 6, 2011 #

  3. I’m honestly not sure what Nulu is talking about, but people should note that there are different strategies for different West Seattle neighborhoods and the plan for Fauntleroy (Murray basin) is not the same as the green infrastructure in Westwood (Barton basin).

    The various project basins are described here:

    Just foisting helpful information.

    Comment by Kelly — 12:05 pm April 6, 2011 #

  4. Kelly must not have been to any of the meetings or followed all the WSB coverage and posts, to honestly not be sure what I am talking about.
    Nor is she mentioning when the “green infrastructure” in the “Barton basin” was added or any public process concerning it, up until now!
    The helpful information she is foisting is King County laundering its decisions and advising those affected after the fact.
    At the King County link provide by Kelly, “Since late 2009, county staff has been meeting with neighborhood residents.” I don’t believe this included meetings specific to Sunrise Heights or Westwood (as opposed to Fauntleroy & Lohman). If it did, please correct me?

    Comment by Nulu — 12:33 pm April 6, 2011 #

  5. @Nulu, The idea that the beach side communities have “foisted” this green infrastructure concept on Sunrise Heights is an absolute misrepresentation of the process and comments to date. Those communities would have given anything to have this fix instead of the one that is being proposed, but the steep hills down there simply cannot hold and drain the water the way Sunrise Heights can. Green infrastructure is in no way more disruptive than building an entirely new underground storage and treatment facility that will require the demolition and relocation of almost ten buildings. And the truth is both strategies are desperately needed…

    Let’s not lose sight of the reason this is happening – to save the Sound!!! The best way for all of us to do this is to disconnect from the combined system and create pervious drainage in your yard (i.e. green infrastructure). I live two blocks away and to Nulu’s last point, I have done this in my parking strip, at my own expense, because it absolutely improves the curb appeal and my property value. As I have said before, if I lived in this area, I would personally welcome this change, despite any construction disruption of parking and noise. But I don’t live in this area, and I really hope that people come out tonight because there needs to be a platform for everyone to ask questions and raise concerns. There has been more than ample coverage of this process on the blog and in the news. To imply that this proposal came out of no where is simply not true.

    Comment by kgdlg — 1:07 pm April 6, 2011 #

  6. Regarding coverage, I have covered this going back to meetings two years ago. First mention of CSO/Barton in our archives goes back even before we were a business, summer 2007. This was just a meeting notice; I wasn’t able to cover a whole lot of meetings till leaving my old gig in December 2007.
    The current round of process started in October 2009 with meetings for the Barton and Murray basins individually. Preview:
    First serious mention of green stormwater infrastructure in our archives goes back to March 2010, when a list of alternatives was unveiled for each basin. Here’s our Barton basin report:
    Gotta get back to an unrelated story. But perhaps that will help for context and some history. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 1:40 pm April 6, 2011 #

  7. “Let’s not lose sight of the reason this is happening – to save the Sound!!!”
    We (the county) are being fined for being in violation of existing sewage and run-off laws during large storm events. We are being ordered to address the issue.
    It is also true that, Puget Sound and water quality should benefit in the long term as more sewers are segregated from storm drains.
    I posted earlier, that this proposal did and has come out of nowhere for the people of Westwood and Sunrise Heights, the very people that will endure the greatest disruption.
    I stated that I believe this to be the first meeting regarding this, dedicated primarily to the Westwood and Sunrise Heights homeowners.
    I was told by a local resident that the first time they had heard of the plan was when they recently received a mailer.
    As I said earlier, please correct me with prior meetings?

    Comment by nulu — 1:49 pm April 6, 2011 #

  8. Thanks TR. Your coverage of this issue has been stellar, and you have really helped us all understand a pretty complicated process – CSO reduction.

    The Clean Water Act mandates that jurisdictions reduce the amount of untreated sewage that gets released into the Sound. 5 million gallons of untreated sewage (the average amount released by our basins direct into the Sound each year) is not acceptable. So yes, we are doing this because it is mandated and we are doing it for very very very good reasons. I don’t want to live next to an open cesspool where all the wildlife has died or is suffering because of our poor infrastructure planning.

    Comment by kgdlg — 10:33 am April 7, 2011 #

  9. story on last night’s meeting to come, I’m a little behind today – TR

    Comment by WSB — 12:35 pm April 7, 2011 #

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