Northwest NEWS

September 9, 2002

Editorial

Sewage plant is on

Woodinville's doorstep
   I testified last Monday before the Woodinville City Council asking about their position on the Sewage plant known as Brightwater. The response was that they are monitoring the situation and waiting for the draft Environmental Impact Statement (due Oct 13th) before formulating a position. A recent survey indicated 40% and 20% of Woodinville citizens are concerned about Brightwater's impact on water quality and odor, respectively. The council noted that they have not heard any public outcry regarding the Brightwater sewage plant. They plan a public hearing Monday Sept. 16 on this matter to enhance and stimulate public participation.  This sewage plant is on the doorstep of Woodinville and what affects Woodinville's downtown affects all of us. Please participate and show your interest! 
   One issue that may be hindering the public's participation in the process is the characterization of the plant's location as Grace. While it is technically correct to refer to "ground zero" in this manner it may be helpful to indicate that downtown Woodinville is less than two miles from "ground zero."
   I am hoping the public will participate in this meeting and express their concerns about the potential issues which will effect Woodinville. I am personally very concerned about odors lingering in downtown Woodinville and causing a big impact on the environment and reputation of the city. Currently, there is not very much information available regarding the potential odor that would be experienced in downtown Woodinville. Stock Pot Soup odors are present and tells us about the wind patterns and the micro climate in the region. When will we find out the "smelly" truth?
   I believe it is important to note that Brightwater is not guaranteeing an odorless environment! While it may be technically possible to process tens of millions of gallons of sewage without odor, I'm unclear about the likelihood of that being realized here in Woodinville. Odor control is extremely expensive and I am concerned that regardless of the lofty goals, the result may fall short due to any number of reasons including cost. How much odor can downtown Woodinville tolerate? Woodinville will have no recourse if downtown is permeated with odiferous byproducts of sewage processing.
   In fact odor is described by the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency as "complex and subjective" and is placed in the "nuisance" category. From the perspective of Woodinville's downtown businesses, I believe odor will be much more than a nuisance and border on disastrous. Woodinville will be associated with the sewage plant and we might speculate on nicknames such as "SEWAGEVILLE".  Would you ride a dinner train to a sewage plant? Would you buy a bottle of wine with a label that identified the winemaker's location as Sewageville?
   I am struck by the different reactions of the citizens of Edmonds and Woodinville with regard to the location of a large sewage plant in their communities! Wake up Woodinville! This is not a benign public works project, it is an essential public facility. Mitigation money is nice, but at what cost to the way of life of the downtown community. This effects all those who shop, work, visit and own businesses in the region surrounding "ground zero." 
   This is like a big train coming down the track. Edmonds slipped a wedge of public outrage under the wheel before the train gained speed. With Executive Sims "preferred choice," the train has gained enormous speed and is heading directly at Woodinville. It will take an extraordinary effort to stop this train wreck. While the current plan is to start the sewage flowing in 2010, construction will begin in 2004 and decisions are being made now that will decide Woodinville's future.  I urge every citizen in the region to participate in the process and express their views to the Woodinville City Council immediately!
   Tim Joseph, Woodinville