Turn Lowman Beach into a “utility site”? Overflow options draw ire

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

For the second time in two weeks, King County Wastewater Treatment brought a team to West Seattle to explain and discuss proposed solutions for a problem that sends more than a million gallons of untreated wastewater and stormwater into this part of Puget Sound in the average year.

This time, at Monday night’s meeting about proposals for the area feeding the Murray pump station at Lowman Beach, the proposed trio of solutions drew even more concern than the trio explained earlier this month for the area served by the Barton pump station by the Fauntleroy ferry dock. (The entire meeting presentation, by the way, is now online – see it here.)

One of them would involve digging up most of Lowman Beach Park, including its unique beachfront tennis court and two century-old trees. Another would involve acquiring homes across the street from Lowman, through eminent domain if necessary. Read on for a look at all three and what the crowd of about 40 at the Southwest Community Center meeting heard and said about them:

That’s a map of the Murray “basin” – the thousand-acre area from which wastewater and stormwater from the “combined sewer” flows to the station itself beneath the south side of Lowman Beach. That system itself is part of the problem; as the county explained at the first meeting, newer systems move stormwater and sewage separately, but the systems here mix them, and when there’s heavy rain – as happened to be the case during last night’s meeting – the system can go into overdrive, causing untreated overflows into Puget Sound.

The state has ordered the county to take action to dramatically cut down on those overflows – and as part of the terms of its permit for the West Point treatment plant in Magnolia, they have to have plans for some of the sites by the end of this year. In turn, to meet that deadline, the county must settle on a plan this summer. As project team member Bob Wheeler put it, “Things are really starting to speed up now.”

As was also explained at the Barton meeting, the types of options available, detailed here, come in four types: Expand the system’s capacity to move more water to other facilities for treatment; build storage to hold onto the excess water until the overload conditions subside; take steps to dramatically reduce the amount of stormwater that makes it into the system in the first place. And of course, as consultant Jeff Lykken of Tetra Tech pointed out, they could also choose a combination of any of the above.

But for Murray/Lowman, they said, where the overflow control would likely be needed 8 to 10 times a year, only three versions of added storage made sense – because of various challenges in the “basin,” from topography to neighborhood development, and more.

The three options that were presented, in brief, each with an added component – an above-ground facility for odor control and power generation (to avoid the Murray overflows that have resulted from power outages, as recently as this one two weeks ago):

That’s the one with an 170 x 85 x 20 (feet) underground tank at Lowman and a storage pipe under Beach Drive stretching a ways north. It also would put the odor-control/generator facility on the north side of the park, above ground, which startled Cindi Barker from the Morgan Community Association, who pointed out they’d been talking with the county for years about locating that part of the expected Murray station upgrade underground, closer to the current station’s site on the south side of the park. Potential price tag: $13 million, not counting any land-acquisition or permit costs.

Now, on to number two:

That’s the one with an underground tank beneath land that currently holds homes and apartments across the street from Lowman Beach Park. The tank would need to hold up to a million gallons; depending on its size, the necessary
storage capacity would be reached by adding a holding pipe under Beach Drive, up to 500 feet long. In this case, the above-ground odor/electrical facility would not be in Lowman Beach Park, but instead would be on the north side of the parcels, which currently hold an apartment building and single-family/multiplex homes, whose property owners, the county said, “have been notified.” Dour said, “The properties would be bought,” though King County’s Bill Wilbert acknowledged to us after the meeting that if any owners wouldn’t sell, they could be forced out by eminent domain. “The County Council really frowns on that, though,” he noted. The cost of this – like the other estimates, without including land and permit costs: $19 million.

Third and final:

And that’s the one with two storage pipes, one beneath Beach Drive, one beneath Murray SW. The BD pipe would be about 900 feet long; the Murray pipe, at least 250 feet long. This also would include the one-story odor-control/power-generating facility on the north side of the Lowman park, as well as an odor-control/electrical facility at the east end of the Murray pipe. Estimated cost, without land or permits: $26 million.

The pipes are massive, it was pointed out – about 12 feet. Lots of other big numbers thrown around – 31.5 million gallons is the current capacity of the Murray station, with about half of that flowing through from Barton on the other side of Lincoln Park, an important point for some who had a lot of questions. To reduce overflows, they need either 1 million gallons of extra storage, or they need to double the amount of treatment or conveyance (getting the untreated water to another facility, like the Alki “wet-weather” plant). Neither of those was deemed feasible, so the three options above are being pursued.

Another staffer from consulting firm Tetra Tech, Kevin Dour, discussed the challenges with the Murray basin – unlike Barton, you can’t really intercept enough flow further uphill from the pump station to make a difference, because the “peak flows converge right before the station.” Attendees stopped the presentation often to ask questions, though county reps tried to gently encourage them to hold those questions to the end; one question at this point was, why can’t a storage tank be built somewhere on the Gatewood Elementary grounds, as is proposed with the Fauntleroy Schoolhouse grounds in the Barton options? The answer – not enough of the peak flow is going by at that point.

Another question: What about putting storage in under the beach? Likely an environmental no-go, was the essence of the answer.

And: What about underground storage at Lincoln Park, maybe enough to handle both the Barton and Murray overflow problems? Consultants said that had been studied, but it would likely require a “deep bore tunnel,” which wouldn’t be a good match for the kind of land in the park, not to mention the fact it would require major construction at the pump-station sites on both ends of that tunnel.

One line of questioning from attendees involved the need for this system – so much money and so much potential disruption, to handle a relatively small percentage of the untreated water streaming into the Sound. Murray alone puts 5 million gallons of combined overflow into the water each year; pressed to estimate how that fits into the big picture, the project team said King County CSO’s are responsible for 900 million gallons each year – but regardless of how small a percentage 5 million gallons might seem, compared to that, it’s still 5 million gallons, and the law requires them to shrink that number.

What about earthquake liquefaction and tsunami risk? MoCA’s Cindi Barker – who also works extensively on emergency preparedness – asked.

Tetra Tech’s Lykken replied that the facility wouldn’t break up, but might settle as much as two inches after a big quake. “We would need to look at whether pile supports might be required” for a Lowman Beach Park storage facility.

Then the questions that raised emotions: What about Lowman’s rugged but much-used beachfront tennis court, and the two huge century-old trees in the park lawn east of it? (You can see part of one of the trees, and the tennis court, in the background of this photo we took a year and a half ago, while the Lowman swing set was being replaced:)

You can also see them in this Seattle Municipal Archives photo taken during work at the site in 1959:

“The trees would be impacted by construction,” Lykken confirmed. But he went on to say that there was no analysis so far “how views would be impacted.”

A man toward the back of the room subsequently spoke out with the most emotion of the night: “You need to hear, you need to understand – this is a park. This is a natural park. I can’t believe the city is not in the room …”

That’s when Cheryl Eastberg from Seattle Parks introduced herself briefly and apologized for arriving late.

The man continued, “You’re not talking about some throwaway site.”

Meeting coordinator Bob Wheeler said, “That’s what we’re here for, we want to hear that.”

As the man in back continued to press the point, Parks’ Eastberg said, “Parks is not enthusiastic about this, and has many of the same questions, frankly. Parkland being used for utilities is a concern for Parks. … My personal thought is that, this park is already so impacted by utilities, what if it just became a utility site?”

“No, no, I’m sorry, this is not a throwaway park,” insisted the attendee.

Park neighbor Dr. Ron Sterling added, “It’s inappropriate to put anything (this size) in there – this would totally industrialize an area that’s already half-industrialized, though it’s a high-traffic area,” particularly for pedestrians walking to and from Lincoln Park, a long block south at the end of Beach Drive.

“It’s like the Burke-Gilman Trail,” declared a voice from the crowd.

Sterling repeated his contention that the county should consider it might be “underbuilding Barton” which in turn requires Murray to be bigger. (In comparison to the potential million-gallon tank across from Lowman, for example, the proposed underground tank on Fauntleroy Schoolhouse grounds would be 200,000 gallons – Barton needs less interception to avoid overflows.) He also vowed to talk to legislators about changing the law that set this process in motion, telling the county reps, “I don’t think you’re making decisions in the interest of our neighborhood.”

Community-relations rep Martha Tuttle tried to soothe the crowd, saying, “We will continue to work with the community. We’ve been working with you for years – we’re not going to walk away now. … You’ve given us a lot to think about; we understand your park is very important to you.”

Another member of the county team observed, “It sure was an interesting night.”

But that wasn’t the end. The timetable for feedback had to be hashed out a bit. Morgan Community Association reps pointed out that while the presentation suggested feedback would be taken only through “mid-April,” their next general meeting is April 21, and this project would be a vital part of the agenda. The county agreed to hold the comment deadline until after that meeting. Here are all the ways you can comment.

From there, the timetable included “define proposal for further review” by early summer and a “draft facility plan” to the state by year’s end. Next year, there will be opportunities for public comment in the environmental -review process.

Parks rep Eastberg also invited those worried about Lowman Beach’s future to contact her department directly; various means of contact are listed here.

Again, here’s the full presentation shown onscreen at Monday night’s meeting, and here’s the home page for information about the Murray basin CSO project. (If you hadn’t yet seen the presentation from the Barton meeting – here’s that link; our coverage of that gathering is here.)

39 Replies to "Turn Lowman Beach into a "utility site"? Overflow options draw ire"

  • Erin March 31, 2010 (7:15 am)

    Lowman Beach is my favorite park in West Seattle. I, and hopefully others in the community, would be willing to help out in any way I can to preserve this park. Even if it means helping the city save money by organizing a work party to help offset construction costs for digging up somewhere else for the overflow, I’d gladly spend my time and money to preserve Lowman Beach Park.

  • Duckitude March 31, 2010 (8:12 am)

    Hi: Ron Sterling here (aka Dr. Sterling). Good article! Well written, factually correct, EXCEPT for the parenthetical about Barton Pump Station — “(Barton needs less interception to avoid overflows”). Only technically true. Even KC Wastewater’s sites quote “4 overflow events, 4 million gallons at Barton per year for 2008” (that might even be a “good” year) AND “at Murray for 2008, five overflows for 5 million gallons.”

    So, you are technically correct, but with these figures, 4 million is not that much less then 5 million and those are figures that may have been cherry-picked by KC Wastwater for their purposes of “selling” these plans to us.

    Fact is, Barton and Murray practically always spill equally and at the same time because, as noted only AFTER questioning, KC admitted that Barton sends a heck of a lot on down stream to Murray.

    Essentially, they are currently planning to vastly underbuild Barton’s CSO (it should be a million gallon minimum — just the same as the proposal for Murray), but there is some kind of pressure on them to downsize the Barton project and unfairly burden Murray. Not sure what that is all about yet.

    Fact is, both of these proposals are “underbuilding” — bandaids and relatively “quick” fixes on the “cheap” to conform to law, but are not part of what I would call a comprehensive and future-oriented fix. Fact is, if we plan on catching more run-off (which we actually don’t capture much of at this point) these facilities will need to be larger. Also, no one is incorporating corrections for underestimating flow errors depending on future rainfall levels higher than the “2008” year.

    My plan, and I plan on enlisting all the help I can get, is to do a proper fix, utilizing the space that is readily available, safer, and has the potential for expansion if needed in Lincoln Park.

    Lincoln Park is huge and the impact to the park and park users would be literally minimal both during and after construction.

    It may be more expensive than the current options, but that is questionable since they are clearly currently underbuilding in the first place.

    If I thought this was a proposal by KC Wastewater that would be a comprehensive fix, I wouldn’t necessarily be opposing it next to me in my neighborhood. I am a member of People for Puget Sound, a member of the Surfrider organization, I regularly windsurf almost exclusively off of Lowman Beach Park. I WANT the Sound to get cleaned up and runoff and overflow from CSO from King County is the major problem to the Central Sound. So, I am ready to spend money, advocate, and get the comprehensive, “overbuilt” solution. So far, this is the band-aid approach.

    As I noted in the meeting, if KC Wastewater wants to build something that is technically demanding, that might take time, but would be the correct solution, not the underbuilt solution, in Lincoln Park, then the community will make it happen. This kind of project requires political pressure for funding and I am already on it with ALL of my legislators. KC Wastewater cannot do this alone. They cannot lobby for a more expensive project or a more comprehensive solution. There are always arguments about budgets. Those are political questions.

    WE can lobby and leverage and ask for the Sound to be treated with proper respect. It’s not an easy solution, it’s expensive, but, honestly, really, truly, is there anything that even comes close to what Puget Sound gives us anywhere in the United States? Not really. The next closest thing to Puget Sound and what it gives to Seattle is what the same basin gives to Vancouver, B.C. It is a treasure. We should be treating it that way — not with non-comprehensive fixes.

    I will say it again — “there will be folks alleging that my voice in this is mostly about NIMBY – wrong – I am a renter, I can move anytime — no skin off my nose. I am a windsurfer and strong advocate for Puget Sound. The issue is the water quality of Puget Sound and doing this right. That’s it. Any other allegations about my motivations are purely manipulative. I have no financial stake in the outcome, whatsoever.”

  • Duckitude March 31, 2010 (8:32 am)

    Sorry — there’s more. The issue of the kind of spills linked to in this article like the “last one two weeks ago” https://westseattleblog.com/2010/03/west-seattle-power-outage-lowman-beach-sewage-overflow related to electrical outages IS DIFFERENT.

    The earlier KC plan to put in an underground, permanent electrical generator at Murray to eliminate the need for a mobile generator got shelved because of the plan to put it underground in the red zone noted in the diagram.

    It got shelved, because of two reasons (1) the community committee established by Dow Constantine, Tom Rasmussen, and KC Wastewater, namely, Ed Harkin, Sarah Fetzer, Jim Coombes and I were instrumental in getting a redesign that would put it under the street and not in the park (2) KC knew there was a CSO issue coming up, so what is the point of putting in an underground generator that might have to be dug up again when the plans for the CSO tank in Lowman might be finalized.

    It is interesting to note that KC Wastewater opposed the neighborhood committee’s pressure for a redesign to under the street on the basis of “safety issues and construction complexity,” but, now they are more than willing to offer proposals that go way way beyond the alleged safety and complexity issues of an underground generator under the street.

    Fact is, a 40,000 gallon spill about every TWO YEARS or so when there is an electrical outage that disables the pump station and requires a mobile generator, is almost laughably small compared to the 5 million gallons in CSO spills PER YEAR.

    State Ecology, in its “wisdom” pressures for zero spill events, even when the priorities should be on the big events. The small ones are so small as to be, as I said, laughable in the big picture. Save money on the generator construction front and get the CSO tanks built. Until then, the mobile generators are useful, have been paid for, and work well.

    BTW — any chance that these comments will allow real open paragraph breaks sometime? Gets pretty messy when you can’t use paragraphs…

  • old timer March 31, 2010 (8:42 am)

    Maybe, if everyone in the basin could be trained to not flush during a rainstorm?

  • Emily March 31, 2010 (8:57 am)

    I live in one of the homes across the street from Loweman, and I find this whole situation devastating in so many ways, both for the community and myself personally. When are we expected to know when the city will decide if they’re going to tear down the homes or go with a different option? I’m a renter (as are many of the residents on that side of the street, so I don’t get much notification of what the status of things like this are.

  • Duckitude March 31, 2010 (8:59 am)

    Unfortunately, flush contents are a very small portion of the problem. Rainwater events that produce overflow out of the “sewage system” (it’s not just a sewage system — it is rainwater runoff — you know what goes into those grids and gutters in the street, from rooftops, etc.) — so it should be called “wastewater” not just sewage.

    Even moderate rain events produce overflows into the Sound because the rainwater runoff plus the sewage overwhelms the capacity of the system and has to go somewhere (Sound instead of your living room).

    So, not flushing will do relatively nothing during rain events for the toxins that go into the Sound from the streets and gardens of King County — you name it, pesticides, copper, asbestos, and on and on…

    One more time — only about 10% and probably less of the CSO overflows into the Sound is sewage.

  • Bettytheyeti March 31, 2010 (9:34 am)

    CSO-combined sewer overflow affects Lake Washington as well. The city did a pilot project to have homes remove the overflow from rain to rain gardens and swells etc. I have an 100 year old home that connects to sewer this way and we have removed rain gutters to sewer. The more hard surfaces you see around a home the more likely the water is going into the sewer. It’s interesting that the Gateway school doesn’t receive the % of flow? I too believe that the proposal builds up Loeman beach to taking the brunt of CSO.
    Well, it is going to happen without a fight from me.

  • Eliza March 31, 2010 (9:52 am)

    Save the park! Lowman is such a perfect little park, with the swing set, tennis court, shade from the trees at that little bench and the proximity to the water is perfect for launching kayaks in the summer.
    It would be a very sad thing to destroy this park.

  • Duckitude March 31, 2010 (10:16 am)

    Hi: If you wish to do research on CSO from King County, you can find the links at




    Just to preempt arguments about cherry picking data by KC — check the 2006-2007 figures for Barton and Murray

    Barton (two year) 24.6 million gallons (12.3 million per year)

    Murray (two year) 7.68 million gallons (3.84 per year)

    How KC Wastewater explains a reduction of 12 million gallons per year from Barton to 4 million last year (according to the meeting quotes), I am not sure.

    When I look at the 2008 report it says 12.21 millions gallons June 2007 to May 2008 for Barton.

    In the 2008 report, I am finding it difficult to find solid figures for Barton and Murray. The Murray figure has to be wrong (107 million gallons? June 2007 to May 2008)

  • Justine March 31, 2010 (10:20 am)

    it’s all just sad…. trees or homes, you chose.

  • miws March 31, 2010 (10:51 am)

    Ron, The way to make paragraph breaks, is to *space, space, period or dash, space, space*, and it’ll look like this:


    Or this:

    Whichever you think looks coolest!


    (Although for your postings, I think little duckie symbols would be coolest! :cool: )



    • WSB March 31, 2010 (11:00 am)

      I just put a return, period, return.
      But yes, when we upgrade our design, which is a lot closer to happening than it’s been in a while, we will have a 21st-century commenting system. Seriously, the design we built on (because we didn’t know when we started WSB that it was going to turn into what it has turned into) is the Internet comparison of etching on stone tablets. But it’s served us well enough so far – we want to make sure we don’t “fix what’s not broken” but do fix what can be improved – TR

  • natinstl March 31, 2010 (10:53 am)

    Although I understand the need to fix the problem I would be devestated to lose Lowman Beach. My husband and I live all the way on Juneau street, but like many others walk down to Lowman all the time to enjoy the park and to enter into Lincoln Park. It seems way too industrial for this site.

  • Noelle March 31, 2010 (10:59 am)

    I wish there was another way. As our city grows it is a necessary evil.

  • Kate March 31, 2010 (11:04 am)

    I just went to the site to provide feedback and the proposals in this article are not listed at all. The two proposals on the website are for storage under Beach DR and 48th OR under Beach DR and on property east of the park (the entire triangle of apartments buildings). The proposals in the article where they would destroy the park (IMO) are not there. So why is that?

  • flynlo March 31, 2010 (11:09 am)

    I’m confused (not the first time by the way!).
    I live within the Murray “basin”. Some time in the dim dark distant past (40’s?, 50″s?, 60’s?), a parallel system was installed in my neighborhood to handle storm drainage separately from sewers. Does anyone know how extensive this parallel system is (was)? At the time of that construction, I believe that the storm drainage emptied directly into Puget Sound. When the West Point sewer plant was expanded, I thought that this storm drainage system was connected to the Alki plant which then treated just storm drainage. Now, it appears that sometime, somewhere, this storm drainage system was re-connected to the sewer system to produce this so-called combined sewer system? Why? If this is the case, what does the Alki plant do? I see that King Co. calls Alki a “wet weather treatment facility”. Does this mean that during storms, Alki treats both storm drainage and sewage??
    Are there any other alternatives being considered? For instance, how many millions of gallons of storm drainage would the existing storm drainage system temporarily hold if intelligent flow gates were to be installed in the appropriate places to meter the flow?
    I agree with Dr. Sterling that this is just “bandaids and quick fixes”. Just a few years ago the Lincoln Park beach trail was disrupted for several months to install/increase the size of the sewage pipes. Why wasn’t a little “longer range” planning done? Certainly overflows at both Burton & Lowman beach were known at that time!

  • Kate March 31, 2010 (11:27 am)

    Thanks WSB for the clarification. What is confusing about the website is that the above ground portion is omitted from all 3. They also do not show what portion of Lowman would be destroyed in each plan. The objectional things to me are any eyesore from the above ground apparatus and the loss of park space including the grass, swings and tennis court. They do not elaborate on these on their presentations.

    The feedback page, where you can enter your comments, has the 2 plans which include storage under Beach Dr, but not the plan with storage under the park itself.

  • Sam March 31, 2010 (1:00 pm)

    While the exact locations of the above ground facilities aren’t specifically located on the map in each of the three potential plans, it does state on each page that *Some above ground facilities will be required*
    so either somewhere at the park, or just across the street where homes are currently at. In any of these plans the 2 large trees will likely be torn out, as well as the “new” swing that took months to install.
    The feedback page has 4 maps, one for each project listed, not for each project option. Of the 2 West Seattle maps shown one is for the Barton project, one for Lowman, all 3 maps are available to view on the Murray basin project page.

  • transplantella March 31, 2010 (1:01 pm)

    I just read all of this twice, and I’m still fuzzy on exactly what is being proposed, but it sounds like no matter what option is chosen the park will no longer be a park? It will be a water treatment site?

  • John March 31, 2010 (1:05 pm)

    Why are we only looking at the storage option? Why not increase the capacity of the pumps and follow that with pipe bursting the existing forcemain with a new HDPE pipe? Maybe we need to install 1, 2, or 3 new surface mounted automatic self-priming pumps activated by a level transducer? I did that for a sewer design of mine with City of Bothell. I was able to utilize the existng wet well configuration.

    I would hate to lose the two wonderful trees.

  • Sam March 31, 2010 (2:09 pm)

    transplantella, it’s already a water treatment site. the question is where the above ground components and/ or additional holding tanks/ pipes will go… the park, across the street where houses and apartments are and north along beach drive, or along beach drive and up on murray ave.

  • Jeff March 31, 2010 (2:50 pm)

    So, is there a citizen’s group in place that is trying to fight Lowman being turned into a pump station? Ron, you mention that you have been contacting the various political representatives – not sure how much traction you’ve made. I think a citizen group that stands strongly against these proposals will be needed to make sure the County does the right thing. I’d be more than happy to be a part of that.
    Am I correct in understanding that there was previous work done for using below-ground facilities that would not disrupt Lowman that have been tossed out and these are the three options that are now available?

  • Jacob March 31, 2010 (5:00 pm)

    how about something like a long concrete pier that doubles as a fishing dock/viewing area?

  • Sam March 31, 2010 (5:10 pm)

    Jeff, Lowman Beach park already IS a pump station…. it’s at the south end of the park underground. The issue is overflow that dumps into Puget Sound raw both when it rains excessively and when the power goes out…. anytime there’s a power outage you can come down here and listen to the diesel pump truck and generators that run for hours at a time. What they want to do is expand to accommodate for overflow before it goes into the water as raw sewage. Most of the time it’s because of power outages…. I suppose doing something to maintain power (like buried lines at the north end of Alki where all the new(er) condos are would be out of the question and not make any sense.

  • Heidi March 31, 2010 (5:27 pm)

    I’m so sorry this is happening. My husband and I got married at Lowman Beach in August 2004. It is a special place for us, and we’d be really sad to see it eliminated completely. I love taking people there – it’s a unique place for our city.

  • wsgolfer April 1, 2010 (8:05 am)

    I’d like to echo Jeff’s question. Is there a citizen’s group forming to try and fight this? Dr Sterling, are you organizing something like this? I’d love to be part of it.


    This little park is a special little spot (those sycamores are magnificent!), and it would be terrible to loose it.

  • Duckitude April 1, 2010 (8:17 am)

    Hi All: Good discussion. Is there a community group yet to lobby for a different solution than the three unacceptable solutions offered so far? No, there isn’t.

    There was a neighborhood community group as noted in my earlier post here that was consulted for the heretofore below ground electrical generator, but, that group was NOT consulted on the now planned above ground generator, which is totally unacceptable


    When I disputed the KC statement that “they have been doing outreach,” I was talking about how they knew there was a Murray Underground Generator Community Council which had been consulted about the previous design elements of the proposed heretofore *underground generator*, which the group was able to move out of the park and under the sidewalk and street. There was NO consultation, whatsoever, or even a head’s up, that the generator was *now* planned to be *above ground*.

    We can form a group and start a website, but the group’s mission needs to be clear and, IMHO, should be something other than “save Lowman Park.” I say that not because I don’t want to save Lowman Park (I DO!) I say that because if that is the declared mission of the group, it will get tagged with NIMBYism and have less power because of that.

    I would love to coordinate a group to lobby for the alleged “more expensive and challenging fix,” (we don’t know for sure, yet, if it really is) — the correct fix, a larger, comprehensive CSO fix located in Lincoln Park. Maybe the group could be called West Seattle Sound Protectors, or something like that.


    The generator at Murray would still likely be necessary, but possibly not, depending on how KC hooks up to a CSO in Lincoln Park, since, in an electrical outage, if they can get portions of the tank below the level of the current pump station, they could likely use gravity feed for the really small overflows that take place during electrical outages.

    As for the mobile generators that get used now. I like them. Electrical outages are very rare (average is I think ONE PER THREE YEARS). They are generally short term. When they are longer term, the generator is right at my front door. I have NO problem with it being there as it is needed.


    I would rather have the mobile generator show up than have Lowman Beach Park further industrialized — more hatches, more service traffic, maintenance testing, etc.

    BTW, thanks for the suggestions about how to put paragraph spaces in!

  • Bettytheyeti April 1, 2010 (10:06 am)

    Yes, Duckitude, I am in agreement with you. You have made fine points. The 3 proposals are in fact unacceptable. The Barton #’s are very interesting as well. Lead the way I for one will follow.

  • no April 1, 2010 (5:32 pm)

    It’s heartbreaking to read we could lose Lowman Beach Park. I wonder if the family that dedicated that swing-set to their late baby daughter knows that? Those trees should be protected as historical – they are absolutely beautiful, rare, unique. We love Lowman Beach and spend a lot of time there year round. I agree these are not acceptable.

  • KCWTD April 2, 2010 (7:52 am)

    It’s great to see the community so engaged in our upcoming plans to control combined sewer overflows in the Barton and Murray Basins. These projects are important in helping us protect public health and the environment, and to meet state and federal pollution control guidelines.

    It’s important to reiterate that King County is very early in its planning process. Our goal right now is to share information about our preliminary plans so you can give us input that will help us identify alternatives that will be evaluated as part of a formal environmental review process. This June, King County will decide on a proposal to further for environmental review that will analyze in detail the advantages and drawbacks of each alternative. You will all be invited to submit formal public comments during the SEPA process, anticipated for early 2011.


    If the Lowman Beach alternative is selected as the proposal that moves forward in the environmental process, King County’s intent would be to construct what would be primarily an underground facility We would work with the community and Seattle Parks to screen any above ground elements and restore the park so that after construction, Lowman Beach Park would resume its role as much valued neighborhood park.


    For those who couldn’t make the March meetings, check out our presentations and public information materials online at http://www.kingcounty.gov/csobeachprojects. Your views are important to us, so please feel free to fill out the online comment forms on our Web site as well.

    The Wastewater Treatment Division will again present Murray basin proposals at the April 21 Morgan Junction Community Association meeting, and we look forward to seeing you and discussing your ideas and concerns.

    In the meantime, you’re invited to get additional detail about King County’s CSO Control Program and control requirements at http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/wastewater/CSO.

    To find information about and understand reported CSO volumes, people can view and download annual CSO reports that WTD submits to the Department of Ecology at http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/wastewater/CSO/Library.

    Real time notification of CSOs can be found at http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/wastewater/CSO/RealTime/SeattleOverview. If the incoming storm predicted for Friday, April 2 results in CSO events in the county’s system, people will be able to check the notification map to identify which facilities have been affected.

    Thank you again for your interest in our projects. We look forward to continuing to work with you to shape the decisionmaking process.

  • Duckitude April 2, 2010 (8:58 am)

    Dear KCWTD: Duly noted. I feel so “reassured” by your statement “If the Lowman Beach Park alternative is selected…”

    From your post here, it seems clear that you are not going to cease and desist on the three UNACCEPTABLE alternatives that the community is clearly saying to you “are UNACCEPTABLE.”

    Quite frankly, KCWTD, at this point in time, I am not quite sure you are welcome here or in our neighborhoods to the extent that, again, you gave no indication at ANY earlier meetings what alternatives you might look at and, clearly, knew in advance that NONE of the proposals you have offered are acceptable. This, IMHO, is a blitzkreig by King County and, frankly, will not be tolerated.

    Expect a big fight if you continue down this kind of road. That’s my intention. Hope you are ready for it.

    Your final statement is clearly disingenuous, since the community was NOT involved in the choice of the three alternatives in the first place.

  • Duckitude April 2, 2010 (9:08 am)

    KCWTD: Just one other thought on posting on public forums as a government agency — you should sign off as to who you are and what your title is.

    As you know, ANYONE, can represent themselves to be whoever they want to be on blogs — so who are you specifically, and who authorized you to start posting here? Thanks.

  • Lowman/Beach DR resident April 2, 2010 (9:36 am)

    Thank you Ducki… I was thinking the same thing, but wasn’t coming up with good words to explain the frustration i was feeling after reading the post by KCWTD. I’m not so sure that I really feel “thanked” for my “interest” in THEIR projects. I also live right down on Lowman, and am having a difficult time swallowing any of these alternatives as acceptable. I live in one of the apts/ homes that would be acquired by the county, should they make that choice, and KCWTD hasn’t made me feel like I have much say in this process no matter what I say about it.
    With as long as all the county work on Alki has taken, I have very little (no) faith in their ability to complete this project (no matter what form it takes) in a timely or efficient manner.

  • local resident April 2, 2010 (4:00 pm)

    In my opinion any ‘above ground’ elements are unacceptable. It’s interesting I didn’t see any proposal that would place the ‘facility’ in the North/West corner of the intersection of Murray and Lincoln Park Blvd. It is an existing area of ‘low land’ and is comprised of both public right of way and private land, but it seems no structures would be impacted and the land purchase price would be far less. I think we can all agree losing the park is a ‘non-starter’ and losing the property across the street seems like a gross waist of prized private view property. The location I mentioned would require far less disruption and is located low enough and close enough to the ‘convergence zone’ that it should be studied as potential site. Another alternative might be to split the system with the storage tank tank located under a new tennis court and the remaining apparatus at the site I mentioned. In short, I think we need to see a few more imaginative and benign proposals…unfortunately the old tree with it’s missive root structure will probably need to go.

  • Duckitude April 2, 2010 (9:01 pm)

    Hi Local Resident: I have heard, although I have not been able to confirm, that that triangle is a protected wetland with a stream that runs through it underground, I think, at this point. I could be wrong. But, yes, that would be a potential site and it was apparently not even considered. Come on down to the Morgan Junction Meeting on April 21 at 7 p.m. at the Kenney to make your thoughts known. Also, submit those ideas to the KCWastewater people at martha.tuttle@kingcounty.gov

  • Jennifer Hall April 15, 2010 (11:03 pm)

    Thanks to Ron, Jim Coombs, Michael, and others for informing neighbors about the county’s above ground treatment plan. The county reps did not do much to get information out. We were shocked, and are gathering signatures from other neighbors. Further industrializing Lowman Beach Park and/or declaring eminent domain across the street and putting people out of their homes CANNOT BE AN OPTION!! We can’t sit back and call it a “necessary evil” — a byproduct of civic growth. We have to unite and DEMAND that county planners take the Lowman Beach above ground option OFF THE TABLE! Lowman Beach, by the way, is the site of a well-known Edward Curtis photo, “The Clam Gatherers”, I think it was called. A native woman, possibly Duwamish, is posed with her clam basket on the beach. The point where Coleman Pool is now situated is shown in the background. The historicity of Lowman Beach needs to be promoted here, and tribal representatives should have a chance to speak at the meeting on April 21.

  • Interested April 15, 2010 (11:44 pm)

    Count me in….I will help.
    Has anyone contacted the fire department about blocking off Beach Dr for an extended period for this construciton? They can’t block access to roads without other means of getting to homes in case of fire… and this part of Beach Dr has no other access.
    Perhaps putting the extended holding tank up 48th Ave would work instead. We must check with the fire department.
    I totally agree that already acquired public property should be used…such as Lincoln Park. The person who suggested they put it out in Puget Sound with a fishing pier, look out point, etc has a great idea too. I think that could be a solution that would have multiple positive benefits.
    Also, what about creating this facility nearer Fauntleroy Dock and build a parking facility on top of it for cars using the ferry? ???? The city could charge for parking and make some money too!

  • Gerald April 30, 2010 (3:45 am)

    Hi all,
    This is a new sustainable approach for CSOs that has been developed in Germany. Check it out

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