SNEAK PEEK: Go inside Murray CSO ‘wet weather facility’ before Saturday’s community celebration

(WSB photo, January 2015)

Two and a half years ago, that was the view into the then-under-construction million-gallon combined-sewer-overflow-control tank at what’s now called the Murray “wet weather facility” across from Lowman Beach (named for Murray Avenue SW).

(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)

Today, that’s the view from atop the site – which we just toured with a delegation from the King County Wastewater Treatment Division, which runs the facility, where you’re invited to a community celebration next Saturday (June 10th, 10 am-noon). The $47 million facility has been operational since last November – when it handled an overflow situation; now the exterior’s complete, too, and it’s party time. This has been eight years in the making, dating back to community meetings in 2009 to talk about options for reducing combined-sewer (the system that takes both stormwater and sewage) overflows into Puget Sound in two areas of central/south West Seattle, part of a wide-ranging court order. The Murray project – which replaced a block of residential buildings – ultimately was designed to include viewpoint, seating space, and art atop and alongside its support building. What looks like lawn, for example, is actually part of a green roof.

You might already have seen the exterior – people were there on this sunny morning doing yoga and walking the stairs. The tank itself is off-limits but we got a look at what’s inside the support building:

That’s the centerpiece, a generator to make sure the overflow-control facility and nearby pump station keep running in case of power outages, which Scott Radford from MWH Constructors understatedly noted are not unheard of, especially in our area. (If you live in the area, you’ll remember the portable generator that had to be brought in via truck when needed.) The new generator is diesel-powered, with its main fuel tank underground and a “day tank” above. There’s also a water tank inside, which draws city water when needed to flush sediment in the storage tank via “tipping buckets”:

The facility is monitored at the area’s main treatment plant, across Elliott Bay at West Point, and does not require an operator on site. The overflow storage is triggered by “passive” monitoring that detects when the pump station underground at Lowman Beach – also improved during the process.

What else you don’t see: Pipes, including a four-foot-wide sewer line that comes downhill to Murray and a five-foot-wide line under Beach Drive. Meantime, odor control that was at Lowman has been moved to the CSO facility, where it’s noted on this section of control-panel infrastructure.

Back outside, the landscaping includes “smart” irrigation and green-stormwater infrastructure including a bioswale/raingarden and permeable pavement.

The art is by Robert Horner – including rammed earth, tile, and rocks. (Sorry to say, taggers have found it, and Graffiti Busters was also visiting while we were there.)

Among our tour guides this morning, project manager Marla Coles:

Thanks also to King County communicators Annie Kolb-Nelson and Kelly Foley for the tour.

SATURDAY’S EVENT: It’s a drop-in party with tours, 10 am-noon June 10th, with speeches/presentation at 10:30 am. Sign up here for a guided tour at 10, 11, or 11:30 – and wear closed-toe shoes! The Murray facility is at the convergence of 48th SW, Beach Drive, and Lincoln Park Way.

6 Replies to "SNEAK PEEK: Go inside Murray CSO 'wet weather facility' before Saturday's community celebration"

  • chemist June 5, 2017 (12:11 pm)

    Glad to hear that they were getting that graffiti down.  It appeared sometime before Memorial day and reported via find it, fix it.

  • Chuck June 5, 2017 (1:22 pm)

    My gawd. How low can those low-life taggers be? I mean, it hasn’t even been unveiled to the public and these pukes are already vandalizing it? Here’s a case where (if caught) the little miscreants should spend time in jail. Deplorable.

  • Pogo June 5, 2017 (3:04 pm)

    Too bad that for all the years they spent making a fancy place to treat waste water that they couldn’t be bothered to put in a public restroom.

    • WSB June 5, 2017 (3:13 pm)

      Same thing came up at the Lowman Beach seawall meeting last week. Unlike the park across the street, though, the public features of this facility are a side benefit, not its main purpose. It does have a staff restroom inside the building, we noted while touring today.

  • chemist June 6, 2017 (12:39 am)

    Hopefully they’re going to return and really get the graffiti removed before this weekend.  This evening still had pretty visible remnants, visible even with a very old cell phone camera zoomed in.

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