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An Innovative Partnership Between the City of Seattle & the US Army Corps of Engineers For Regulatory Permitting

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Seattle Public Utilities provides over 1.3 million customers each day with a reliable water supply, essential sewer, drainage, solid waste and engineering services that safeguard public health, maintain the City's infrastructure, protect, conserve and enhance the region's environmental resources. Capital construction is a major component of providing high quality service to our customers. It is the intent of the City of Seattle to be a model of an environmentally responsible developer. Environmental protection is a key element in all phases of the capital improvement process from planning, preliminary engineering, design, construction, commissioning, and on going operations. With the recent addition of salmon and bull trout to the threatened and endangered species list under the Endangered Species Act, requirements and lead times associated with permits under federal jurisdiction have taken considerably longer, become more complex and increased project costs. The City of Seattle and the US Army Corps of Engineers entered into a Memorandum of Understanding under the Water Resource Development Act of 2000, which has enabled the two agencies to partner together to improve processes, communications, knowledge and results. This paper explains the processes developed, the problems encountered, our method for working through the problems and the benefits accrued. The City of Seattle and the US Army Corps of Engineers were the first in the Seattle District, and in the nation to implement the 2000 Water Resource Development Act. Other public agencies have this same opportunity to participate in the program with their US Army Corps of Engineers District Office's. Our experiences and non-traditional regulatory approach may be beneficial to other public agencies involved in capital improvement programs. Our approach has helped the City of Seattle design, permit, and construct and operate our capital improvement projects in scope, schedule, and budget and as an environmental model.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2003-01-01

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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