My article that was posted on May 26, 2016 entitled “Wait a Minute – Raw Sewage in Lake Union?” received quite a few interesting and insightful comments and additional questions. Apparently one of the readers of that article was Andy Ryan who is the Media Relations Coordinator for the Seattle Public Utilities and Andy was kind enough to provide us with some answers to the questions that were raised in the article and in some of the comments. So I have included those questions and Andy’s responses to those questions below.
Did past increases in Seattle’s density increase CSOs?
Will CSOs become more frequent with new development?
No. The City of Seattle’s storm water code says that all new development needs to take care of its storm water onsite (via underground detention, infiltration, etc.). New development needs to take care of its storm water that had been entering the combined sewer is now held back or is treated and directed to the separated storm system.
How does the Long Term Control Plan’s Ship Canal Water Quality Project address the future?
The Ship Canal Water Quality Project was sized to accommodate the combined flows from basins in Ballard, Fremont, Queen Anne and Wallingford. It has been sized to fully control the area’s outfalls and has factored in climate change impacts. Because of the City of Seattle’s storm water code, all new development (HALA-related or independent) is required to take care of their storm water on site.
Are there other ways that Seattle Public Utilities is preparing its wastewater systems for the future?
Yes. Later this year, Seattle Public Utilities will begin developing a Wastewater Master Plan. This Plan will create solutions for capacity constrained wastewater locations throughout the City and will plan for increasingly strict water quality regulations, climate change and development. The Wastewater Master Plan’s public engagement plan hasn’t been developed yet, but there will be opportunities to participate.
Does new development impact Seattle Public Utilities in other ways besides CSOs?
Yes. Seattle Public Utilities provides drinking water, recycling services and sewer and drainage infrastructure to all residents and businesses in Seattle.
Once again, I want to thank Andy Ryan for his thoughtful input and answers to the questions and to all of those who took the time to comment on my May 26 article. Andy Ryan can be reached at [email protected] if you have any need to contact him.