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King County Department of Natural Resources Wastewater Treatment Division is currently in the process of siting Brightwater, a new regional 36-mgd greenfield wastewater treatment plant. The facility will serve the northern portion of King County's wastewater service area comprising north King and south Snohomish Counties, the fastest growing area in the Seattle-Everett metropolitan region. The site selection process began in 2000 with 95 initial sites. The project team is currently evaluating two to four remaining sites. A project-level environmental impact statement will be prepared for each site during 2002 and will be submitted for environmental review in late 2002. Preliminary design for the new treatment facility and conveyance system will begin in early 2002 and will be performed in parallel with the siting project. The primary goal of the siting process is to encourage the maximum involvement of the public; local, state, and federal agencies; and tribal governments so that King County may complete design and permitting of the project by 2005, begin construction in 2005, and bring the new facilities on-line by 2010.

To ensure a thorough and integrated evaluation of all aspects of facility siting, the siting project comprises eight subject area elements: siting process, technical/engineering, environmental planning, regulatory evaluation and permitting, public involvement, mitigation design/public art, land acquisition and negotiation, and project management. The siting is being accomplished in three phases, with input in each phase from all eight subject areas.



Phase 1 – develop site selection policy criteria, identify potential land areas, and select candidate sites for further analysis.


Phase 2 – develop and analyze conceptual “candidate systems,“ including treatment plant sites with a general facility layout, conveyance options, and candidate marine outfall options.


Phase 3 – prepare draft and final versions of an environmental impact statement (EIS) and select the preferred system to include plant site, conveyance route, and marine discharge location.


The integrated structure of the eight subject area elements mentioned previously is an effective way to achieve success in siting a difficult project such as a new greenfield wastewater treatment plant. The different subject areas work in concert to mitigate potential delays to the siting project and to achieve the required support of local communities, agencies, and tribes to make the project a success. To date the approach has met with success and the project is on track to select a preferred site for the new facility by mid 2003. This project illustrates that siting of a new treatment plant in a densely populated area is possible if a well-defined screening process is established and if efforts are made during the early stages of the siting process to gain endorsement by the key stakeholders.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-01-01

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