Northwest NEWS

September 3, 2001

Front Page


Execs study info for Brightwater short list

by Jeanette Knutson
   Staff Writer
   Next week King County Executive Ron Sims (with concurrence from Snohomish County Executive Bob Drewel) will announce a short list of potential treatment sites for the Brightwater Treatment Plant, the planned new regional sewage treatment facility to be sited in south Snohomish County.
   The short list will contain two to four proposed sites that will undergo rigorous environmental review throughout 2002. The final site will be chosen in early 2003, with plant completion slated for 2010.
   The Siting Advisiory Committee (SAC), made up of government, civic and tribal leaders from King and Snohomish counties, raised concerns about four of the proposed six sites. The concerns, or "red flags," as the committee referred to them in a June 8 letter to Sims and Drewel, "... are not necessarily show-stoppers for a particular site," explained Carolyn Duncan of Executive Sims' office. "The committee wanted [Sims and Drewel] to take a hard look at these issues," she said.
   Sims has said that each of the six sites still officially has the same chance of being selected for the plant.
   The SAC recommendations are founded on numerous criteria, among them environmental impacts, cost, engineering feasibility, community impacts and the degree to which the facility design can also provide for community amenities. For each site, SAC members identified:
   Red flag issues that members believe must be resolved in order for the sight to be further considered in the selection process;
   High priority issues that warrant careful attention or further study; and
   Other highlights of the SAC discussion, which have been organized according to strengths and weaknesses.
   Here are the committee's findings (in abbreviated form, as taken from the Brightwater Siting Advisory Committee Summary of Candidate Site Evaluation, dated June 8, 2001) which Sims and Drewel will consider, amongst other data, before they propose their narrowed list of sites the week of Sept. 10:
   1. The Route 9 site near the intersection of Highway 9 and Highway 522 north of Woodinville at the intersection of 228th and Highway 9. There are no red flags for the Route 9 site. Priority issues There would be the opportunity to significantly enhance Little Bear Creek, a highly positive attribute related to this site, committee members thought. The site had good roadway access. Potential to reuse water from a wastewater treatment plant at this location will be high. Route 9 has the potential for cleanup of contaminated soils due to the high number of auto parts facilites in the area. The committee sees this as good. Highlights, strengths This is a large site that offers flexibility with regard to location, buffers and joint uses. Location could offer significant improvements over current uses, especially with regards to stream enhancement, habitat mitigation and possible recreation opportunities. Weaknesses Could be a complex acquisition due to a number of owners. Cost of plant here could be high due to land acquisition and length of conveyance required to pump treated effluent to the marine outfall. The site is narrow and may present some challenges in terms of buffering. Does inland location make it more difficult to respond in case of a spill? This site straddles the Urban Growth Boundary. Care will need to be taken to ensure that plant doesn't serve as an enducement to further growth. Current uses of the property provide jobs and the recycling of auto parts. These valuable uses should be relocated/replaced if possible.
   2. The Gravel Quarry and additional undeveloped land adjacent to the quarry located at the 400 block of 228th Street, on the Bothell border. Red flags There is a possibility of unstable/contaminated soils in this area. The site has some areas that are quite steep. Both Swamp Creek and Wandering Creek flow in close proximity to the site. Unstable, contaminated soils may negatively impact these resources if there is unmitigated water run-off during construction or operation of the plant. Priority issues This site is an established residential area. Can the plant be buffered adequately from nearby residences? 228th Street is steep and often closed during ice and snow conditions. The street has high traffic and congestion on a regular basis. A plant here may have higher relative costs due to the elevation, conveyance distance and need for more pump stations. Highlights, strengths Site conducive to water reuse opportunities. A positive mitigation might be an education/interpretive center. Schools in area could take advantage of this type resource. This site is close to the center of both the service area and major connector lines. If gravel quarry is near end of useful life, plant could provide strong remediation opportunity. Weaknesses Virtually no trees; may take a long time to create buffer. Quarry only operates during the day; plant would have round-the-clock operation. Site is in an inversion area; odor impacts may be more significant. Neighboring residents oppose. Site has odd shape that may make buffering a challenge. This is an inland site that, too, presents spill concerns.
   3. Gun Range between Brier and Bothell located on the 400 block of 228th SW Street. Red flags Range used for recreation and training facility for local law officials. It would be difficult to relocate elsewhere. Gun club is unwilling seller. Delay in acquisition could mean delay in project overall. Priority issues Site contains very steep slopes and soils may not be suitable for plant construction. Concern for environmental impacts on surrounding habitat and on surface and groundwater in area. As with Gravel Quarry, there are concerns about 228th Street steepness, traffic, ice. Highlights, strengths Siting could offer cleanup of lead contamination from firing range. Site has areas that are heavily forested, which could create an excellent buffer. Site located close to center of service area and to major connector lines, which could mean cost efficiencies. Weaknesses Must ensure no negative impacts to Swamp Creek, which runs through site in some areas. There are surrounding residences quite close to this site. This is an inland site; there are major accident/spill concerns.
   4. Thrashers Corner in Bothell at the corner of 208th Street SE and the Bothell-Everett Highway. Red flags Only site where residential property owners would be dislocated. Owners could complicate acquisition process which could delay project overall. Priority issues There is strong public opposition from some of the owners of residential properties on the site, as well as nearby properties. County needs to analyze existence of wetlands and creeks on this site. There may be a shallow water table. Committee interested in how County might either enhance or negatively impact the fish and wildlife habitat that exists in this area. The park acreage currently in place is significant resource for the community. Siting here would have to enhance the park and any surrounding habitat areas. Highlights, strengths Water reuse possibilities are high at this location. Site is near center of entire service area and its trunk-line connections, which could be advantageous in terms of cost and operations. Weaknesses A plant would be a long way from an outfall on Puget Sound. There are concerns about how a major spill could impact residents and environment. This site is in an inversion area; odor impacts may be more significant and difficult to mitigate. Traffic here is already congested. The area has seen major commercial development in recent years, with more anticipated. Will treatment plant be compatible with development planned for this area?
   5. Point Wells property, located in unincorporated Snohomish County between Shoreline and Woodway on Puget Sound. Red flags It appears Chevron is unwilling to sell the property. Complexity and delays in acquisition could delay project overall. Priority issues Is the site large enough to accomodate plant, buffers and necessary mitigation? Is the site large enough to accomodate future expansion? Sound Transit intends to place some wetlands/habitat mitigations on the site. Is site large enough for all intended uses? There is only one, narrow, steep arterial road through Shoreline and this road would provide primary access into and out of the plant. The capability of this road to handle truck and employee traffic through construction and operation needs to be evaluated. This site may serve as a significant regional resource for public shoreline access, habitat mitigation and recreation. While Shoreline and Richmond Beach have said they oppose a plant at this site, Woodway has actively supported it. While committee sees Woodway's support as a strength, it is equally concerned about the opposition from Shoreline and Richmond Beach. Cost and extent of environmental cleanup haven't been fully determined. The site could be too cost-prohibitive. Highlights, strengths There sufficient space to buffer a plant from nearby residents. Site is currently zoned industrial. Could use rail and barge during construction, cutting construction traffic through Shoreline. Only one business would need to be displaced. Once the plant is in operation, there would be less traffic through Shoreline than currently generated from asphalt plant. May be chance to partner with Port of Edmonds to create a satellite marina at this site. Weaknesses Need to mitigate for flood risks from global warming and tsunami. Concern about impact of a major accident/spill to marine life in area. Are soils stable enough to handle facility? Site currently supports an asphalt production facility. This facility could be viewed as an essential facility for the region. Potential for water reuse in this location appears limited. Significant permitting issues at the shoreline need to be examined.
   6. Edmonds Unocal Oil property, located adjacent to the marina in Edmonds. Red flags None. Priority issues If Brightwater could co-exist with ferry terminal and Sound Transit multi-modal facility, it would be a "win-win" for the region. However, among other technical issues, is site physically large enough to accommodate all intended uses. Is Brightwater compatible with other development plans that have been in the works for several years. Highlights, strengths There is a potential for expanded public access to the shoreline. Current industrial zoning is appropriate. There is excellent road access. There is a single property owner; acquisition may be less complex. Environmental cleanup is already planned and could be accelerated. There is potential to replace and/or partner with smaller wastewater treatment facilities in Edmonds and Lynnwood. Emergency flow management may be easier to implement at this site. Weaknesses There may be some unstable or unsuitable soils on this site. Water reuse may be limited. Location here would require raw sewage be pumped very long distances across the service area. Edmonds owns a waterfront park adjacent to the site. Ongoing ownership and public access to the site must be protected.