Skip to main content
King County logo

Newsroom

Natural Resources and Parks
Public Affairs


City of Kirkland, King County double-up against drought with recycled water

Summary

King County is making a drought-proof source of water available to city of Kirkland. Starting this week, the city will have access to high quality recycled water from the Brightwater Treatment Plant.

Story

With forecasts calling for drier than normal fall weather, City of Kirkland and King County’s Wastewater Treatment Division are joining forces to make drought history with the help of a safe, reliable alternative water source.

Under a deal signed this week, City of Kirkland will have access to high-quality recycled water produced at King County’s Brightwater Treatment Plant for a variety of municipal uses including street sweeping, tree irrigation, sewer line cleaning and cement mixing.

After disinfection and testing, the recycled water is sent through a dedicated “purple” recycled water pipeline to a temporary filling station at King County’s York Pump Station in Redmond. City of Kirkland workers will use trucks to transport the water from the filling station to locations where it can be used for non-drinking purposes.  

“With this region being affected by such dry conditions, the City looked for opportunities that would help us reduce our water usage,” notes Kirkland Deputy Mayor Penny Sweet and Cascade Water Alliance Board Member. “Our partnership with King County is a unique way to save water and costs while maintaining important city services.”

Tapping into this resource will help support Kirkland’s effort to reduce water consumption by 10 percent, a voluntary regional goal set late this summer by the cities of Everett, Seattle and Tacoma in response to low snowpack and below normal rainfall.  

In addition to conserving drinking water, Kirkland’s use of recycled water will also save the city money. Under the agreement terms, King County’s recycled water rate will be as much as 50 percent lower than drinking water that would otherwise be purchased and used for the same purposes.   

“Recycling water is a win-win with many benefits to people and the environment” said King County Wastewater Treatment Division Director Pam Elardo. “We make use of a valuable resource rather than discharge in to Puget Sound, and we protect fresh water in rivers and streams while supporting efforts to conserve drinking water. Recycled water is the right water for the right use.”

The production and use of recycled water, also known as reclaimed water, is strictly regulated by the state Department of Ecology to ensure safety. As with lake or river water, recycled water is safe for human contact, irrigation, crops, and other uses, but not approved for drinking. Recycled water is distributed through a separate set of purple pipes to guarantee it will not be mixed with certified drinking water supplies. City workers will be trained in transporting and using the water.

King County has been safely producing and distributing recycled water from its treatment plants for more than twenty years. In addition to City of Kirkland, customers include 60 Acres Park, Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila and Willows Run Golf Course in Redmond.

Additional information is available at www.kingcounty.gov/recycledwater and www.kirklandwa.gov/savewater.

###