As sewage still spills, no timeline for fix to treatment plant’s Katrina-scale damage – Seattle Times

This is an incredibly bad situation. We are going to be dumping the entire sewage of Seattle into Puget Sound with only screening of primary solids for months.  I chalk this up as a Global Warming event, as the massive rains that  created this event, are consistent with the projections of increasing storm intensity in global warming scenarios.

It’s going to be a long road back to recovery for the crippled West Point wastewater-treatment plant in Seattle. A workhorse of the regional wastewater-treatment system, the plant is estimated to have sustained at least $25 million in damage in a flood Feb. 9 and cannot presently function properly. Recovery of the plant remains in very early stages. Damage had never occurred at the plant at such a scale. It has taken Hurricane Sandy or Katrina-scale damage to produce similar wreckage elsewhere in the country. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Plan would ban boats from releasing sewage into Puget Sound – Seattle Times

This proposal has been in the discussion phase for a couple of years now. We discussed it in the Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee back in 2014 I believe. It was clear then, and is clear now, that if they are going to do this, it should be in more than one stage, with exemptions for working commercial vessels that cannot retrofit for the new rules.  I have to say that I agree with the critics that are quoted in the story. What those of us involved with the preliminary rules found back then, was that a number of tug boats, have never had an ability to have a holding tank, because they were built in an era where it wasn’t required, and they filled the hold with engine. There is no way to retrofit some of these working boats. As you can see from the reaction of commercial interests in this article, the issue has not magically gone away. That Ms. Bellon has chosen to ignore this feedback and simply given them 5 years to comply or have to buy a new tug is not going to solve the problem. It leads to the kind of anger against agencies like DOE, run under this Democratic governor. It can be fuel for the fire of the Republicans which is not needed in this election year. Ms. Bellon needs to come to the table with an exemption status for the small number of commercial vessels, perhaps establishing a 20 year exemption, what would allow the natural cycle of vessel replacement to happen.The small amount of treated human waste from these commercial vessels pale in comparison with the fecal runoff of the roads, which carries away pet waste by the ton every time it rains. I don’t see DOE getting all upset and banning cities from expanding until they fix their storm sewer systems. We know that it would not be politically acceptable. I highly recommend that if you are involved in any kind of organization or NGO that is involved in Puget Sound protection, that you write Ms Bellon, and call your legislators, and tell them and her that we need to have the commercial interests on board with this proposal before inacting it. As to the recreational boaters, getting them  to go to pump out stations is a good idea, but DOE better fund an expansion of those stations. There are not enough around the Sound.

Boaters and vessel operators would not be able to release sewage, treated or untreated, into Puget Sound under a proposal by Washington state regulators. The Department of Ecology said Thursday it and other state agencies petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to designate the waters of Puget Sound a “no discharge zone” to improve water quality and protect shellfish beds and swimming beaches from harmful bacteria. If approved, the zone would cover waters from near Sequim to south Puget Sound to the Canadian border, and includes Lake Washington and Lake Union. There are dozens of no-discharge zones in the country, but this would be the first in the Pacific Northwest. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

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