Northwest NEWS

December 6, 1999

Local News

Regional sewer plan gets approval

   Metropolitan King County Councilmembers approved a long-range regional sewage treatment plan on Nov. 29 that will increase capacity of the current system and protect the environment.

   The total cost of the plan, which includes construction of a third sewage treatment plant, is just under $1.2 billion. Councilmembers voted 10-1 in favor of the plan.

   "This plan has been a long time coming," said King County Councilmember Larry Phillips, chair of the Regional Water Quality Committee (RWQC). The water quality committee, which approved the plan earlier this month, is comprised of representatives from the County Council, City of Seattle, City of Bellevue, and suburban cities.

   Under the plan, siting and construction of a third sewage treatment plant in North King or South Snohomish County will be completed by 2010. The plan also includes additional system improvements to ensure water quality and handle increased capacity. Key elements of the plan are:

   A sewage capacity charge, in which growth pays for growth, is also contained in the plan.

   According to Phillips, that policy is the most equitable for all residents as the Puget Sound region continues to see rapid growth. "The plan is a cost-effective proposal which will also hold regional sewage rates stable over the next 30 years."

   The plan maintains provisions contained in the original executive proposal, including a north lake interceptor. Phillips said the plan has always included the interceptor, which is designed to divert sewage from a line that runs along the north end of Lake Washington. "It's a less expensive and more effective option and is the best solution all the way around."

   "The RWSP is only one part of a coordinated and systematic effort to add sewage capacity and improve water quality through the region. The County is also moving ahead with separating ground water and stormwater runoff from wastewater to create even more sewage capacity. The County is working on reducing combined-sewer overflows even further. We are looking at ways to reuse wastewater to reduce demands of Lake Washington water. Again, the goals are additional capacity and cleaner water," Phillips added.