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King County denies waste disposal permit for Shell facility at Terminal 5

Summary

King County's Industrial Waste Program will reject an application to permit the Alaska Venture Shell Facility to dispose of its wastewater into the County’s regional sewer system.

Story

King County’s Industrial Waste Program today denied a permit application for discharge of wastewater from the Alaska Venture Shell Facility at Terminal 5 into the County’s regional sewer system.

“Everyone has to follow the rules, even multinational corporations,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Over the long term, we need to invigorate the promise of a clean-energy future and make King County the regional catalyst for carbon reduction, renewable energy, and a new innovation economy.”

The Industrial Waste Program denied the wastewater discharge permit on two grounds: lack of ability to demonstrate compliance with pre-treatment standards that protect King County’s regional wastewater system and Puget Sound, and failure to apply in the name of the company that is actually generating the discharge.

While the application was filed by Waste Management National Services, Inc. of Kirkland, officials say the discharge is being generated by the Alaska Venture Shell Facility at the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5.

Waste Management is currently collecting and trucking the discharge to other facilities that are permitted for disposal. The permit application sought permission to discharge wastewater into the sewer system through a nearby manhole, for treatment at the County’s West Point Treatment Plant in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood.

Officials say the applicant failed to demonstrate the Alaska Venture’s ability to comply with the County’s wastewater pre-treatment standards, and was unable to provide assurance that disposal wouldn’t create a public nuisance – in particular with regard to potential toxins, and potential hazards posed by the generation of hydrogen sulfide gases that can endanger workers, corrode sewer pipes and emit the smell of rotten eggs.

Applicants have the legal right to try to cure defects in their permit applications and reapply.

Since 1969, the Industrial Waste Program has required industrial facilities to pretreat wastewater before discharging it into the public’s sewers, under provisions of the King County Code relating to the public health and safety of wastewater operations.

The mission of the Industrial Waste Program is to protect King County’s treatment system and its workers, along with the environment and public health. The program is part of the Wastewater Treatment Division in the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks. To learn more, visit www.kingcounty.gov/industrialwaste.