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Settlement spurs investment in clean-water equipment upgrades, environmental grants

Summary

Underscoring its commitment to clean air and water, King County agreed to expand funding for a community environmental grant program and install new equipment to reduce emissions from thee biogas-powered pumps serving the West Point Treatment Plant since 1966.

Story

Underscoring its commitment to clean air and water, King County agreed to expand funding for a community environmental grant program and install new equipment to reduce emissions from three biogas-powered pumps serving the West Point Treatment Plant since 1966.

The measures are part of a settlement agreement with Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) to resolve issues stemming from the West Point treatment plant’s raw sewage pump engines, which were discovered by King County staff in 2008 to be deviating from their permitted emissions limits. The County has been working in coordination with PSCAA to address the problem, which was linked to the engines’ performance criteria and did not result in harmful air pollution levels to the surrounding community.

Under the settlement reached on Feb. 23, 2012, King County will invest about $8 million in a catalytic exhaust treatment system as well as advanced technology to scrub biogas created during the solids treatment process so it can continue to be used to power pumping equipment engines. The County is also researching other alternatives to achieve the same objectives under the agreement. King County also agreed to develop a documentation system to ensure consistent maintenance and operation of plant equipment and to conduct periodic audits to measure the system’s effectiveness.

King County also will also allocate $411,300 to its Green Grants Program, which supports small-scale, community-based water quality improvement projects and education within the Green River and Duwamish River basins, and to pay a fine of $73,000 to PSCAA. King County also agrees to additional penalties of up to $5,000 per day if settlement obligations aren’t met.

This release is also posted on the website for the Department of Natural Resources and Parks at http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/dnrp.aspx

Note to editors and reporters: Visit the WTD Newsroom, a portal to information for the news media about the Wastewater Treatment Division, King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks: http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/wtd/Newsroom.aspx

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People enjoy clean water and a healthy environment because of King County's wastewater treatment program. The county’s Wastewater Treatment Division protects public health, the environment and the economy by serving 17 cities, 17 local sewer districts and more than 1.5 million residents in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties. Formerly called Metro, the regional clean-water agency now operated by King County has been preventing water pollution for nearly 50 years.