Northwest NEWS

April 17, 2000

Local News

Search for treatment plant site begins

   by Marshall Haley, staff reporter

   WOODINVILLE--Michael Popiwny, King County's Siting and Mitigation Manager for their Wastewater Treatment Division, gave the Woodinville City Council a preliminary agenda for locating the region's third major wastewater treatment plant in north King County or south Snohomish County, at the April 10 Council meeting. The facility will require a minimum 50-acre site, said Popiwny.

   The plant's first phase of construction should finish by 2010 and will process 36 million gallons per day. The second phase, by 2030, will process a total of 54 million gallons per day.

   Popiwny said he expects the site search to take three years. The search process will include public meetings with community associations, environmental groups, business groups, local and regional water suppliers, regulatory agencies of all levels, tribal governments, and government representatives of both counties.

   Councilmembers asked Popiwny about the visual and odor impact from such a large plant. A similar-sized plant in San Francisco was 75 percent buried, with only a berm covered with natural landscape and two large garage-type doors visible to the public, said Popiwny. Another plant in San Diego resembled business park buildings, and its location near a college brought many people to the front door looking for registration, he said. It also emitted no odors.

   He pointed to the mitigation process at Seattle's West Point (Magnolia) plant, that restored a wetland around the plant with a nature trail running through it along the beach, making the plant largely unseen from ground level.

   Most truck trips removing solid waste will probably happen at night, lessening traffic impact, said Popiwny. Since more computer technology will be used than in the region's other two plants--West Point and Renton--fewer staff will work there, minimizing car traffic impact.

   One Woodinville man in the audience suggested the City jump at the chance to site the plant in Woodinville, saying it would be the biggest business in town and produce much tax revenue. He suggested that the treated water could be used for all non-drinking purposes, enabling local water districts to give residents a one-cent per gallon refund on their water bill.

   Popiwny asked the Council for input on likely candidates from the community to sit on one or more stakeholder committees, to help locate the best site.