City of Seattle developing plans to protect local waterways, reduce stormwater runoff

Seattle Public Utilities is working on projects to reduce stormwater overflows and is preparing a 10-year plan to protect Seattle's waterways.

SEATTLE, WA, May 21, 2013 -- Every year, rain washes millions of gallons of raw sewage and untreated stormwater into Seattle's waterways. In 2012, this happened hundreds of times, releasing 154 million gallons of combined sewage and stormwater.

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is working on projects to reduce stormwater overflows and is preparing a 10-year plan to protect Seattle's waterways. An environmental impact statement is being prepared and a 30-day public comment period on the scope of the plan will be provided May 20–June 20, 2013.

These overflows happen because many Seattle neighborhoods have a pipeline that collects both sewage from inside our homes and businesses and stormwater runoff from our roads, roofs, and other hard surfaces. When it rains, the volume of stormwater overwhelms the pipe, causing an overflow into the nearest waterway.

The scoping phase asks people to provide comment on the three alternatives under consideration:

  1. The “No Action” Alternative provides a basis for comparing the effects of the other two alternatives, but would not comply with federal or state regulations.
  2. The Sewage Overflow Reduction Alternative uses a combination of three strategies to reduce sewage overflows, with the choice of four options emphasizing different approaches to the solution.
  3. The Sewage and Stormwater Pollution Reduction Alternative offers the same solutions as the Sewage Overflow Reduction Alternative but with the opportunity to prioritize some stormwater-only projects over sewage-overflow projects if it provides a greater benefit to the waterway.

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