West Seattle CSO projects: Barton field work; Murray offers

Both of King County’s West Seattle projects to reduce combined-sewer overflows (CSO) are proceeding, and we have updates tonight.

In the area of Sunrise Heights/Westwood where the map above is shaded – part of the “basin” feeding the Barton pump station north of the Fauntleroy ferry dock – the plan is to install “green stormwater infrastructure” including rain gardens, and another round of field work is imminent, according to spokesperson Annie Kolb-Nelson. She says residents in the affected area have been sent a letter (see it here), and will get more notification whenever something is happening on their block, but they wanted to get wider word out too. This is what will be happening, according to an online update about the project:

• Project team members conducting land and utility surveys, and looking at topography, stormwater and groundwater patterns, existing parking strip uses, trees, driveways, accessibility for residents with disabilities, and other physical features of the project area
• Geotechnical borings to better understand soil and groundwater conditions
• Infiltration testing to see how long it takes water to soak into the ground
• Parking and traffic pattern survey
• Potential installation of additional groundwater monitoring wells
• Examination of roof downspout connections/disconnections to the existing combined sewer system

All that will start over the next few weeks, Kolb-Nelson tells WSB. There’s also a map showing specific properties in the project area – you can see that here. The county says construction won’t start until 2013.

We also asked what’s new in the neighborhood that is going to be affected by the plan for the basin feeding the Murray pump station at Lowman Beach Park, where a separate pump-station maintenance project is under way right now. For Murray, you may recall, the county has decided to build a huge underground storage tank across the street from the park, which requires buying and demolishing the residential properties that are there now. Kolb-Nelson says, “We’re in contact with property owners and have begun making offers. We’re also notifying people about eligibility for relocation benefits.” She adds that community meetings are planned next month, but the dates aren’t set yet. This project also is set for construction in 2013; an aerial view is here.

13 Replies to "West Seattle CSO projects: Barton field work; Murray offers"

  • flynlo September 10, 2011 (9:52 am)

    How are these “rain gardens” different from the ones in Ballard that the City is having to spend an additional $500,000 to “fix”?
    Google “Ballard rain gardens” for several different takes on the problem.

    • WSB September 10, 2011 (10:21 am)

      Been over that, over and over and over. Preliminary geological work is being done here that wasn’t done there, among other things. The city has even advised them on what NOT to do. – TR

  • metrognome September 10, 2011 (11:18 am)

    interesting that the survey includes “accessibility for residents with disabilities” which seems pretty much unrelated to the rest of the project; not complaining … delighted to see someone paying attention to the issue. Wonder what will happen as a result.
    I would also see ‘bioretention swales’, which is the term used in the letter, as being more sophisticated than ‘rain gardens’, but I guess they are using the terms interchangeably:
    “Bioretention/bioinfiltration facilities are dispersed small-scale landscape features using bioretention soil and vegetation designed to attenuate storm flows and treat stormwater. They are typically vegetation-filled depressions with a drainage function. They are often located in median strips, in parking lots, in planting strips along streets, or in other landscape areas. In this facilities plan, the term “rain garden” is used to describe these facilities.”

  • Scott September 10, 2011 (9:40 pm)

    I dont like this idea. Who will be required to clean these beds. It will be the home owners and I dont want to have to maintain extra landscape. Who do I speak with to stop this. How is this going to help the Barton pump station. We have a hill in the way. Any ground water is going down into the southwest sporting complex. Also, are they taking into account the play feild going in at the old Denny site.

  • heather September 11, 2011 (7:52 pm)

    Scott, I urge you to look at the website associated with this project. I attended one of the neighborhood meetings and the CSO project is really very impressive. Per that meeting I was informed that maintenance and upkeep are included in the scope of the project. This is part of a larger project in which Seattle is managing runoff in increasingly urban areas. Think of it as an ‘urban grey water management park’. And yes, the Denny park has been factored in….as a matter of fact they have sent out surveys to collect information on future property plans in the neighborhood i.e. patios, additions, hardscaping, and plant removal that residents may be planning.

  • heather September 11, 2011 (7:55 pm)

    I think its fantastic and hope our house is chosen for the rain garden!

  • bridge to somewhere September 11, 2011 (9:48 pm)

    for those of you who disagree with some aspect of this project, i urge you to see the videos of the outflows in action under the waves of the sound, courtesy of laura james. they are elsewhere on WSB, posted september 11th i believe. they completely transformed my perspective on this project–i’m now completely in favor of it. we need to stop dumping road run-off into the sound.

  • bridge to somewhere September 11, 2011 (9:53 pm)

    please take a look at the following videos before making a judgment about this project: https://westseattleblog.com/2011/09/video-vivid-reasons-to-learn-today-how-to-fight-tox-ick

  • Scott September 12, 2011 (6:00 pm)


    I have not received a survey in the mail for my future property plans. In fact I plan on pouring concert in my 3000 sf back yard as I’m done with having to do yard work.

  • nulu September 13, 2011 (9:15 am)

    After viewing the video, I wonder how much difference the Barton project will show in future videos? It certainly will not eliminate the flows as some seem to imply.

    Also, some people may not realize it, but the Barton CSO project does not include roof/gutter runoffs (or any other homeowner runoff). It only applies to the water in the street which will be diverted to the swails.

  • Scott September 13, 2011 (1:25 pm)

    I’m sorry but those videos really dont show any impact on this project as they are shots from Elliot Bay and Alki. They are not showing what is really happening near the Barton pump station north.

  • markN September 13, 2011 (2:01 pm)

    Good for the Sound, but not necessarily good for the neighborhood.
    I love the beautiful system at High Point, but there is a big difference between that system and the one proposed: the County is not planning to water the plants in the new system. Even drought tolerant plants need water during Seattle’s summer months.
    That means the swales will either be btown and ugly OR very costly for adjacent neighbors..
    The County needs to install and maintain a system for watering and otherwise maintaining plants before the proposal has my support.

  • Scott September 15, 2011 (8:39 am)

    I agree that they need to maintain the plantings. I see someone noted that they have it in the project scope, but for how long. Will I see them upkeeping it more than once a year and 20 years down the road. I dont think so. If there was a problem with the parking strip or sidewalk that city would say it you as the home owner to fix it. I dont agree with this project and I dont see how they are going to make it work on my parking strip as it is very small.

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