Pre-construction meeting details what to expect in Lowman Beach area as Murray CSO-reduction project ramps up

Just over four years ago, King County reps first came to Fauntleroy for meetings with neighbors about two projects to reduce combined-sewer overflows from two area pump stations. Now, many meetings later, both of those projects are on the verge of construction, and last night at Fauntleroy Church, the Murray project – named after the Lowman Beach pump station to which it’s tied – was discussed in detail with neighbors, in a pre-construction briefing. Ahead, some of what neighbors and Lowman Beach/Lincoln Park users alike should know about the impending three years of construction:

First, the slide deck that accompanied the presentation:

Project manager Erica Jacobs started by going all the way back to the reason for the project – older “combined-sewer” systems that fill with stormwater and sewage during storms, and “by design” overflow as a “safety valve.” Those overflows average 5 million gallons a year, she said.

The project includes a million-gallon storage tank as well as odor control and a standby generator, replacing the trucked-in generator that’s a familiar sight at Lowman Beach during storms (see the photo in our . The circular tank will be under the southern side of the site, with a plaza on top; a public stairway will go through the site, which will have open space on its north side.

Jacobs showed the renderings of the building, whose height, she said, was dictated by the need for a generator. Trees will be planted but it’ll take years before they hide the building’s facade, she acknowledged. The site will include a raingarden and, as its art element, rammed-earth walls.

The construction team was introduced and explained (they’re all listed in the presentation you can scroll through above); Doug Marsano remains the community-relations lead.

Site challenges detailed by the team include:
*Relatively small size
*Residential/recreational location
*It’s beneath developed hills
*Groundwater, soils

They will build a “soil-nail wall” to support the eastern hillside by Lincoln Park Way. Then, for the first few months, “secant piles” will shore the tank site during excavation, with drilling – the excavation will be a cylindrical, watertight ring nearly 100 feet across, 80 feet deep. What’ll be excavated would be enough “to fill Colman Pool twice.” A 20-foot-thick concrete slab will be installed below the tank to prevent it from floating over high groundwater. It’ll be like “putting a battleship underground.”

Large-diameter utilities (power, HVAC, water line, overflow pipes) will cross Beach Drive – they will maintain at least one lane of traffic throughout construction. A tidal gate will be installed to keep saltwater from entering back into the pump station during very high tides.

A construction permit has been issued, the county said, and other permits are being obtained now by contractor Shimmick Construction. Some activity is forecast in December – fencing, for example. The “secant piles” installation isn’t likely until first quarter. The facility building won’t likely start before 2015, after the tank, and the entire project won’t be complete until about three years from now.

What to expect? Marsano picked that up – what does it mean to neighbors?

*Heavy equipment, truck traffic, noise
*Work hours usually 7 am-6 pm weekdays (they don’t intend to work weekends, Marsano reiterated)
*Access to Beach Drive SW maintained
*No parking on eastern side of Beach Drive throughout the project
*Access to Lowman Beach Park facilities, beach maintained – “there will always be access to the park”

And he promised – “no surprises.”

They plan to share information via:
*Site signs and flyer box
*Updates via e-mail, flyer, postal mail by request
*48 hours minimum notice for “intense activities” including phone
*Periodic mailings
*”Other resources” including WSB
*Lowman Beach Park community board
*Some local West Seattle businesses

How you can get info to them:
*206-205-9186 project hotline
-Online comments via project web page (here’s the link)

“Every project inquiry gets individual attention,” Marsano promised. The project hotline can be used to alert the county to “potential hazards,” too, he said, and urged people to “avoid the work area,” don’t distract the workers, etc.

Answering Q/A, Marsano was asked whether parking on Lincoln Park Way should be restricted because of all the truck traffic that will ensue. A project rep said the three months of excavating for the “secant pile” will involve four trucks a day. There will be a traffic-control person; trucks will be staged on Fauntleroy or California. “That’s going to be interesting,” said one attendee. “We’ll figure it out,” she was promised. Same goes when there are a “lot of concrete trucks” for the big pour in the hole’s base – they’ll be staged and brought in one at a time. He didn’t have the “haul-out route” handy but Marsano promised they would. Their disposal site for what’s dug up isn’t set yet, the project team said in response to another question.

There was some discussion about public space atop the structure – and whether there could be some benches in the green-roof area that currently is shown as being fenced off. The challenge is between opening it to the public and turning it into too much of a hangout area, ensuing discussion revealed. One attendee worried about graffiti vandals targeting it; Marsano promised the county has a strong interest in keeping it as “graffiti-free as possible.” Nearby residents are being asked about monitoring devices, one resident disclosed.

Also of note: The contractor will face penalties if not done on time.

11 Replies to "Pre-construction meeting details what to expect in Lowman Beach area as Murray CSO-reduction project ramps up"

  • Brian November 8, 2013 (6:19 am)

    I find it hard to believe that the new space would attract people to hang out at the location. It’s not as if Lowman Park Beach has too much of a loitering problem now.

  • xDuckitude November 8, 2013 (8:30 am)

    Brian? What do you know? Huge problem with hanging out. Ask my neighbor, who gets woken up all the time by noisy partiers in the park between midnight and 3 am. Classic park for that actually. Ask any graduates of local high schools. Traditional use for many years is to party at Lowman. Me, I live in a home, thankgod, that was built the old-fashioned way… super acoustic insulation. Don’t hear much… but then, maybe I should.

    As for the construction. It will be torture for us. We have already had the house bounced around with the kind of minor work done so far, so we expect nothing but the worst…. it will be a jungle out there.
    The duckies are gone, and, depending on the torture, we may be gone too. My southern neighbors wouldn’t mind that result, I am sure…

  • Brian November 8, 2013 (9:13 am)

    What I know is that I’m a resident who owns a home near Lowman Park Beach and I haven’t seen the park used for loitering and drug/alcohol use in the same ways that I’ve seen other local parks used (RE: Morgan Junction Park, Roxhill Park, Lincoln Park).

    Maybe your level of tolerance for “people hanging out” is obscenely low?

  • joe November 8, 2013 (9:15 am)

    Whats with the duckies now anyways. They used to be cute, now its all political. And it stinks like sewer down there. Cant wait until the project is done and that odor goes away.

  • xDuckitude November 8, 2013 (3:51 pm)

    Hi: Yah, obscenely low threshold, that’s what’s wrong with me. I should have known! There is always something wrong with me according to this here WSB population…. and, like, Brian, are you up checking out the park between midnight and 3 am every night, or what? I live on the park. I actually have the data. So, if there is an expert on the subject, it is me. Give it up.
    As for the duckies, you gotta be kidding me, right? They were cute, until Kingly County decimated a one-of-a-kind neighborhood. Cute is not what this is all about. If it was, things would have gone much differently. Right?
    Good luck on the odor thing. They didn’t fix it before, and the limitation is not that it couldn’t be fixed, it’s that they don’t really care. We found that out this last summer, for sure. I know what the odor problem is and why it is what it is… from sources that could be called whistleblowers. If you think it will be different because of anything they have planned so far (I suppose the plans could change, but I doubt it), good luck. They are adding to the areas that will require “ventilation” and they aren’t willing to spend the kind of money that would really fix the problem, for good.
    Besides, they really are hoping immediate neighbors we will just all move out so they can make it even bigger than it is. One of the criteria for the placement of the tank was “a site that will allow expansion.” Figure that one out…

  • Brian November 8, 2013 (4:09 pm)

    I haven’t made Lowman Park Beach a part of my neighborhood watch rounds but I’ll add it to the list. I presume you’ve reported these events to the police? (Truly not being facetious, just checking!)

    I’ve also been volunteering a few hours a week to independently clean up West Seattle parks so if you see a guy with a trash grabber and a bag at LPB, feel free to come say hello. I’m always excited to meet the people who live in my neighborhood.

    P.S. If you don’t approach discussions on this site as if the person is outright attacking you, you’re far more likely to receive a helpful and engaging response.

  • Joe November 8, 2013 (5:20 pm)

    So the politicians shut down the ducks?
    Decimated the neighborhood? Duckyman maybe you should move with duckies somewhere like Florida or Arizona. Start fresh. You seem so enraged and carrying anger. can’t be good for your health. You need to get back in the fun sucky spirit.

  • enviromaven November 9, 2013 (12:29 pm)

    I miss the Duckies, and I don’t blame the Duck Meister for being peeved. Remember the explosive device that was set off at the Ducky site within the last few years?

    The Lowman Beach neighborhood is being decimated. That was a political decision, regardless of how any of us feel about it. Stinking like a sewer, indeed.

  • xDuckitude November 10, 2013 (7:16 am)

    Joe… jesus, man, is there anything I can do that would work for you? And, where the heck do you get off telling me about what is good for health or not? Really? You are the freakin’ expert or something? Appropriate anger is absolutely one of the healthiest things on planet earth both at an individual AND a community level.
    So, here you go… sing it to the tune of “Happy Trails to You”
    Say farewell to the Lulu Duckies
    That’s all there’s left to do.
    They’ve been scared away forever,
    And, it’s all because of you.
    You could have saved them if you wanted
    But you pretended to just be passing through.

    Say farewell to the Lulu Duckies.
    They got to live for over eight years.
    That’s longer than a lot of children do
    In Afghanistan, Nigeria or Cameroon
    So, they aren’t complaining that much
    Just moving far away from you!

  • John November 10, 2013 (11:11 am)

    Personally i feel Lowman beach neighborhood is much better now that those run down, slum, rat infested apartments are gone.
    I feel good that the owners made out like bandits as they sold at a very high price. And the tenants seemed happy with their relocation.

    If your upset that buildings were torn down, lets not forget that the apartments were taken by the city BECAUSE people wanted to save the 3 treess in lowman park.
    The city originally proposed doing all the construction in the park. And yes 3 trees would have been removed. In the end the park would have been amazing and the apartments would have stayed.
    But people valued the trees more then their neighbors.

  • xDuckitude November 13, 2013 (12:13 pm)

    Hey John, you little RatHater you. How can you say that? Great play area for feral cats and all that… Made out like bandits? If you know that for sure, then you have been given confidential information that if given by one of those owners who signed confidentiality and non-disparagement agreements, they are liable for loss of money.
    Bandits is a relative term. Who knows what the value of that property would have been if left alone for another 10 years, even. Could have been discovered by Brazilians with money…
    At any rate, the alternatives to NOT putting it in the park itself, or creating any long term impacts on a neighborhood or a park, were many. The choice of the community advisory group was poltically incorrect, you see. The NIMBY folks with lots of moolaboola (compared to the Lowman Beach folks who are more “down to earth” and also, not that many)… the powerful NIMBY folks in Fauntleroy, center of the Democrats universe and bankrollers for Dow’s treasures, among many others, VETOED the choice of the advisory group.
    That simple, dude. Money talks, rationality walks.
    No one valued the trees more than the neighbors… what an uninformed bs statement that is. The idea of putting a sixty foot deep tank in the park, right next to the water, among many other things had more to do with the keep it out of the Park decisions… Fact is, it wasn’t kept out of the park, it will be expanded in the park in addition to the decimation of the neighborhood across the street…
    As for being rational, that’s in short supply — look at you, for instance. On one hand they are “rat infested, slum homes” and then later in your post, they are apartments with an amazing new view… make up your mind.
    As for tenants being happy about being relocated, you have that information too? I doubt it. Just trying to build your case with bs.

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