Where will ‘green stormwater infrastructure’ go? County reveals potential sites

March 22, 2012 at 1:23 pm | In Environment, Sunrise Heights, West Seattle news, Westwood | 6 Comments

(WSB photo of test site at 34th/Trenton, March 2011)
Fifteen months after announcing its plan for “green stormwater infrastructure” to reduce combined sewer overflows (CSOs) at Barton Pump Station by the Fauntleroy ferry dock, the county has narrowed down the potential sites where it might place raingardens and swales to keep stormwater from overwhelming the system. (It’s been testing in the neighborhoods – with equipment like the truck above, as well as drill rigs – for the better part of a year.) Here’s the map showing which streets (in green) have been identified for closer study:

(Sorry, the streets weren’t named on that map, but you can see a larger version, along with the accompanying letter and “fact sheet,” by going here.) News of the map follows King County’s announcement of two meetings, March 28 and March 31, promising status updates. Read the announcement in full, ahead:

Two public meetings will provide status updates on a King County project to build green stormwater infrastructure to control combined sewer overflows (CSOs) from the Barton Pump Station in West Seattle.

The first meeting is on Wednesday, March 28, at Westside School, 7740 34th Ave. SW from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Another meeting with the same presentation material will follow on Saturday, March 31 at High Point Community Center, 6920 34th Ave. SW from 10 a.m. to noon.

Combined sewer overflows occur during heavy rains in older parts of Seattle where pipes designed long ago to carry both stormwater and wastewater fill to capacity. To protect public health and water quality for Lincoln Park users, King County is working closely with residents in West Seattle’s Westwood and Sunrise Heights neighborhoods to plan and build a system of swales and rain gardens to capture and reduce the amount stormwater that gets into the sewer system during heavy rains.

The meeting will enable neighbors to learn about which areas were selected for additional study, the process to identify these potential sites, and opportunities for future public input. People will also be able to ask questions about the next steps in the siting process and how to remain informed and involved as the project moves forward.

Additional information about the project is available at http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/wtd/Construction/Seattle/BartonCSO-GSI.aspx, or by contacting Kristine Cramer at 206-263-3184 or kristine.cramer@kingcounty.gov.

6 Comments

  1. “To protect public health and water quality for Lincoln Park users, King County is working closely with residents in West Seattle’s Westwood and Sunrise Heights neighborhoods to plan and build a system of swales and rain gardens to capture and reduce the amount stormwater that gets into the sewer system during heavy rains.”

    REALLY? Because this is the first I’ve heard of it and we’re smack in the middle of the affected area. (Obviously, I’ve heard about the issue itself, but it didn’t translate to “your property, umpteen blocks away, will be affected directly by this project.”)

    In theory and in concept, I support landscaping to deal with wastewater, but WHY on earth did the city just plant trees in the areas impacted by this? If they’ve been studying for fifteen months, they certainly should have known about this when they spent money to add trees! I love our trees, and it will be a huge waste of money and a helluva shame if they are removed for this project.

    Also, as a person with a disability who needs driveway access, how do I ensure I won’t be blocked from getting my car into my driveway while they are tearing things up?

    Yes, I’ll attend one of the meetings.

    Comment by A — 2:09 pm March 22, 2012 #

  2. We too are in the effected area and have been receiving mailings periodically about the project. Last week we received a survey in the mail asking about where we park, if anyone is in a wheel chair, if we have major house work planned in the next couple years, etc. I just went to the link above and in the yellow part at the top of the page there is a link to the survey.
    I also opted to be on an email list about 6 months ago to keep up to date on the project. I think if you contacting Kristine Cramer you can get on the email and mailing list to keep you up to date.

    Comment by Idle — 3:28 pm March 22, 2012 #

  3. We are also in the effected area. Our neighborhood had a meeting with the lead planners two days before this new map arrived at our doors. They refused to be give any real details about what locations would be worked on.
    They are full of claims and short on facts. When disastrous projects like the one in Ballard are brought up they were dismissed without comment. No plans are in place for people to be able to cross from their parking spot to their sidewalks. Our parking strip is constantly flooded (2-3″ of standing water on top of our water meter cover) yet they claim drainage won’t be a problem.
    Finally, they also claim that the county will maintain the plantings so that they do not become an eyesore, or worse a haven for rodents. I wonder where that money will come from or how many election cycles they will claim to keep it up.
    To me it feels like a bureaucratic decision that was made before there was any input or real evidence to support the placement. Now they can do what they always planned from the beginning but say that they had input from the community because they had ‘meetings’.
    Yes it is important to control the run off, but the example of success (High point, etc.) are all new construction and not retrofitted into old neighborhoods. When it fails who will be left with the tab to fix it?

    Comment by Swampy — 7:19 pm March 22, 2012 #

  4. My neighbors and I are also very concerned. I’ve been trying to alert more neighbors to this issue so we can share information and ideas. Thus far, we’ve met with County representatives and we recently sent a formal complaint to Dow Constantine who is the decision-maker on this project. We all support solving the problem of sewer overflows but this method will create life safety issues in the public right of way, reduce property values and negatively impact our quality of life. And yes, it will also impact accessibility for residents, as pointed out by “A.” We are now working on some additional strategies. If you are interestd in learning more, please contact sabrina@foxinternet.net.

    Comment by Westwood Gal — 1:05 pm March 23, 2012 #

  5. I find it interesting how if you add ‘green’ to something it is somehow okay. The “Green stormwater infrastructure” is a wastewater facility that is going to dump gallons of storm run-off in the middle of affected neighborhoods. The run-off will be pumped into the ground in already soaked (and any places seeping) neighborhoods with poor drainage. Since the dumping grounds are on the east side of the ridge, the wastewater will flow into the Longfellow Creek drainage and impact soils and drainage for everyone downstream of the waste.

    Comment by Bill — 9:58 am March 24, 2012 #

  6. Swampy, my understanding is that the swales will be considered infrastructure, just like a holding tank would. The county would be no more likely to stop maintaining the green infrastructure any more than they would grey infrastructure.
    .
    Bill, the process of infiltrating the water will help clean it, microbes will help deal with the hydrocarbons, and in general this many help restore more of the natural water flow. This would not be a bad thing for the watershed, it would be a good thing.
    .
    Personally, I wish they’d do this in my neighborhood! Yes, some short term inconvenience, but at the gain of prettier streets, higher property values, and potentially some traffic calming that can make the streets safer for kids and all of us.

    Comment by Gene — 9:26 am March 31, 2012 #

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