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What happens during a King County project? How is the public involved?

All system and project phases

What happens during the system planning phase

Planning and building new wastewater infrastructure is extremely complex. It can easily take a decade or more to go from identifying a project need to cutting the ribbon on a newly completed facility. Learn more.

The County identifies projects necessary to fulfill the Regional Wastewater Services Plan (RWSP), adopted in 1999 to ensure the system meets the region’s growth through 2030.

How King County works with the community

The goal of public outreach efforts during the System Planning Phase is to provide the public with opportunities to provide input on long-range decisions and to ensure decision-makers have access to public opinions.

Public outreach activities during this phase could include

  • Stakeholder workshops
  • Community presentations
  • Educational outreach
  • Annual Ratepayer Report
  • Program reports and updates
  • News releases
Learn more about Project Planning Learn more about Project Design Learn more about Project Construction Learn more about Facility Operations

Issues considered

Long-range decisions considered during this phase support the implementation of the RWSP’s major components, including:

  • Brightwater Treatment System
  • Conveyance system improvements
  • Regional infiltration and inflow control
  • Combined Sewer Overflow control
  • Biosolids recycling
  • Reclaimed water
  • Odor control

What happens during the project planning phase

King County convenes a project team consisting of WTD staff with experience in engineering, operations and maintenance, land use and permitting, environmental planning, construction, and community outreach.

The team works to identify and evaluate potential alternatives to meet the project need. Project needs are typically replacement of aging infrastructure or the construction of a new facility.

How King County works with the community

King County works with the community to provide information about the project need and identify the project’s likely community impacts. The County tailors its public outreach activities to meet the specific needs of the project and the community.

The public can inform the County’s decisions on:

  • Identifying project stakeholders
  • Documenting local issues and community concerns

Public outreach activities during this phase could include

  • Individual meetings with community groups, organizations and leaders
  • Local agency and jurisdiction briefings
  • Public meetings
  • Project newsletters
  • Project fliers
  • Project Web pages
  • News releases 

Issues considered

The project team begins considering potential alternatives using the following factors:

  • Technical feasibility, reliability and safety
  • Permitting requirements
  • Community impacts
  • Environmental impacts
  • Cost

What happens during the project design phase

The County’s project team develops the recommended project proposal and performs an environmental review under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).

Permits are acquired for the project. Contract specifications are developed based on project design and permit conditions.

How King County works with the community

The County provides information on project details including:

  • Facility architecture and landscaping, if applicable
  • Major construction techniques
  • Estimated construction duration
  • Site restoration

The public can inform the County’s decision about some project elements:

  • Facility architecture and color
  • Facility landscaping
  • Identifying reasonable solutions for construction impacts

Public outreach activities during this phase could include

  • Individual meetings with community groups, organizations and leaders
  • Local agency and jurisdiction briefings
  • Public meetings
  • Project newsletters
  • Project fliers
  • Project Web pages
  • News releases

Issues considered during this phase

  • SEPA requirements and review
  • Permit acquisition
  • Final facility location
  • Architecture and landscaping
  • Construction specifications
  • Bid contracts
  • Construction bid solicitation and review

What happens during the project construction phase

The actual building of new or upgraded wastewater facilities occurs.

The County selects a contractor and forms a construction management team with expertise in construction, engineering, operations and maintenance, land use and permitting, environmental planning and community outreach.

The County team oversees the contractor’s work, coordinates with local jurisdictions and responds to community inquiries.

How King County works with the community

King County recognizes that its construction projects can be disruptive to the community. The County’s public outreach during construction considers the project complexity, location and potential impacts.

The County’s project team will keep the community and local jurisdictions apprised of the project’s progress, schedule, milestones and any unforeseen developments.

The County works directly with the community to minimize construction impacts.

The community can inform the County’s decisions about:

  • Addressing community disruptions
  • Safety precautions
  • Addressing private property impacts attributable to the project

Public outreach activities during this phase could include

  • Community meetings with the contractor prior to construction
  • Community briefings on project progress during construction
  • Advance written notice of major construction activities
  • Project status reports
  • Prompt response to all community inquiries
  • 24/7 construction hotline
  • Project Web pages
  • News releases

Issues considered during this phase

  • Staying on time and on budget
  • Worker safety
  • Minimizing community disruptions
  • Compliance with all permits and easements
  • Facility testing and commissioning

What happens during the facility operations phase

King County Operations and Maintenance crews visit the facility on a regular schedule. Crews and equipment may be on site for cleaning, maintenance, resupply or repair work.

How King County works with the community

King County provides notice about what to expect from potentially disruptive operations and maintenance activities, such as emergency repairs or facility inspections in streets or public spaces.

Public outreach activities during this phase could include

  • Advance notice of activities expected to result in traffic disruptions, noise, or odor
  • Prompt response to community inquiries about the facility
  • 24/7 contact information posted on the facility and King County’s Web site for reporting concerns

Issues considered during this phase

  • Facility inspections
  • Facility maintenance
  • Necessary repairs
  • Worker and public safety
  • Regulatory and permit compliance

Public meetingView more photos on our Flickr site .

Community engagement guide
King County has developed a community engagement guide to promote effective engagement and customer service with all county communities. This guide builds on the County's Strategic Plan as well as the Equity and Social Justice Ordinance.