How to protect West Seattle waters and beaches? Meeting tonight

Thanks to Morgan Community Association‘s Cindi Barker for that photo, and some info, from last night’s meeting about protecting south West Seattle waters from sewer overflows during major storms. May sound desperately unglamorous, but before you find your favorite beach getting dug up by the chosen project – and/or polluted by an overflow – you might want to have some input into the decisions that have to be made, in a process including last night’s meeting and another one tonight: King County Wastewater Treatment has four options from which to choose for handling what are known as Combined Sewer Overflows. Last night, the open-house-format meeting focused on the Murray basin – waters north and south of Lowman Beach that are affected if the Murray pump area has an overflow; tonight (6:30-8:30 pm, The Hall at Fauntleroy, just drop by during that window), it’ll focus on the Barton basin – affected if there’s an overflow from the Barton pump area (alongside the Fauntleroy ferry dock). Here are the four options for handling the overflows:\

*Increase pumping capacity so EVERYTHING can go to a treatment station (explained here)
*Storage – Build a huge tank to hold onto the overflow till it can be sent through the system post-storm (explained here)
*On-site treatment: Build treatment facilities near the pump station to be put into use when the regular system can’t handle the flow (explained here)
*Reduce flows into the system by working with property owners on measures such as disconnecting roof drains, creating rain gardens and bioswales (explained here)

The county says the average overflow at each of those sites is a million gallons; Murray averages five a year, Barton averages four. The county is taking feedback now and plans to come out with site-specific recommendations early next year. As you can see from the list, the alternatives are dramatically different – drop by tonight’s meeting and find out more about the pros and cons. (Both of these sites, by the way, remain in queue for future pump-station upgrades, beyond the decisions on how to handle the CSOs.)

1 Reply to "How to protect West Seattle waters and beaches? Meeting tonight"

  • John October 8, 2009 (7:33 am)

    Option No. 3 is out of the question. Designing and constructing primary and secondary onsite treatment, just in case it’s needed, is costly and takes up surface area. Maintenance of the facility would be high and additional crew would need to be hired.

    Option No. 1 and 2 are simple design and construction fixes. No. 1 would take up the least amount of space and can be below ground like option no. 2. I assume we’re talking 30 minutes of storage so the existing pumps can ‘catch up’.

    I like the idea of making people responsible in option no. 4. However, we know that’ll never happen. We live in a lazy world and people won’t change. Bioswales would be nice, but not cost effective for existing roads.

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