The red triangle in that graphic, taken from this updated-every-10-minutes county webpage just after midnight, is a reminder of the problem that’s supposed to be solved by what’s been a controversial and sometimes combative process, as King County decides how to cut down on combined-sewer overflows (CSOs) from two West Seattle pump stations. The red triangle shows that one such overflow is happening right now at Murray (Lowman Beach), the station whose proposed solution – unveiled just the other day – is the most controversial. It means that because the heavy rain is overloading the pump station’s capacity, a mixture of raw sewage and stormwater from the “combined sewer” system is going straight into Puget Sound. And the county is under orders to make sure that happens less often, so it’s announced – as first reported here last Wednesday – that it will study an underground-storage-tank alternative for Murray, which would require, if it wins final approval, the county to purchase six private properties across the street from Lowman Beach Park, even if that means taking them via “eminent domain.” The Morgan Community Association has been involved in the process, and hosted an extra public meeting last summer that led to the creation of a Citizens’ Advisory Group, whose ultimate recommendation was different from what the county’s now pursuing. We asked MoCA vice president Chas Redmond, also a CAG member, for comment; MoCA’s been mulling its official reaction ever since, and just sent it Saturday night:
The Morgan Community Association (MoCA) appreciated the opportunity to have played a role in facilitating a discussion between King County and the Lowman Beach/Murray Basin residents. We were glad that the County responded with a full set of interactive sessions leading up to a recommendation from the Murray Basin Citizens Advisory Group.
Under recommended alternative 1F, King County would design and build a storage tank beneath private property across from Lowman Beach Park and collect runoff from the Murray Basin. Recommended alternative 1F also contains green infrastructure solutions for the Barton Basin that are strongly endorsed by MOCA as they result in reduced flows into the Lowman Beach/Murray Basin.
We understand that the current recommendation will entail significant disruption and we look to King County to provide fair and consistent mitigation to these impacts. It is our sincere hope that the County will work closely with each affected resident and property owner to ensure a timely and just relocation process. We count on the continued communication between all parties.
However, MoCA is pleased that Lowman Beach Park will be preserved as the valuable community asset that it is. Recommended alternative 1F proves that citizens working with appropriate government operational staff can implement solutions which truly expand the set of options available for storm-water clean-up and retention. We look to the day when there will be fewer combined-sewer overflow events to achieve the overarching goal of the project – a clean and productive Puget Sound.
The Fauntleroy Community Association has jurisdiction in the area affected by the other pump station that was the subject of a CSO-reduction recommendation, Barton (by the state-ferry dock). For that “basin,” the county wants to create “green stormwater infrastructure” to hold onto more water outside the drainage system. FCA’s president Bruce Butterfield commented the day the decision came out, as we reported that night; the Barton decision is so non-controversial, in fact, FCA has decided not to have a December board meeting. Next step for both recommendations will be an environmental review that the county says will include more community outreach, so be on the lookout for that.