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King County receives $96 million low-cost loan to improve Puget Sound water quality

Summary

The King County Wastewater Treatment Division has received a $96.8 loan by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to construct a project that will help improve water quality in the Lake Washington Ship Canal and surrounding waters. The low interest rate loan will save King County an estimated $32.8 million in finance costs.

Story

The King County Wastewater Treatment Division’s (WTD) work to protect and improve water quality got a big boost recently with a $96.8 million low interest loan from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help design and build an underground storage tunnel that can hold millions of gallons of stormwater and sewage during heavy storms until it can be safely treated.

The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan will help WTD finance the design and construction of the Ship Canal Water Quality Project. A partnership with Seattle Public Utilities, the project will prevent an average of 75 million gallons of polluted stormwater and sewage annually from flowing into the Lake Washington Ship Canal, Salmon Bay and Lake Union.

The underground storage tunnel will capture and store untreated stormwater and sewage during heavy storms until it can be treated at the West Point Treatment Plant

“The Ship Canal Water Quality project is an important infrastructure investment that advances our longstanding commitment to protect and improve water quality,” said Christie True, King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks Director. “This project also benefits our region’s economy by creating more than 630 new construction jobs, and financing from WIFIA helps make the most of ratepayer investments by saving more than $32 million.”

This is King County’s second WIFIA loan. In 2017, EPA issued a $134.5 million WIFIA loan to King County for constructing the Georgetown Wet Weather Treatment Station, which, when completed in 2022, will treat up to 70 million gallons of combined rain and wastewater a day that would otherwise discharge directly to the Duwamish River during heavy storms.

As a clean water agency, the Wastewater Treatment Division’s mission is to protect public health and the environment and works 24/7 to serve over 1.8 million residents and clean about 190 million gallons of water per day. The agency invested about $587 million from 1979 to 2018 to prevent pollution from entering local water bodies and is investing another $417 million in two current Combined Sewer Overflow projects – the Ship Canal Water Quality Project and the Georgetown Wet Weather Treatment Station.

RELEVANT LINKS
Ship Canal Water Quality Project
West Point Treatment Plant
Georgetown Wet Weather Treatment Station

QUOTES

 

The Ship Canal Water Quality project is an important infrastructure investment that advances our longstanding commitment to protect and improve water quality. This project also benefits our region’s economy by creating more than 630 new construction jobs, and financing from WIFIA helps make the most of ratepayer investments by saving more than $32 million.

Christie True, Director, King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks

 


FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Marie Fiore, 206-247-9260; mfiore@kingcounty.gov

About the King County Wastewater Treatment Division
King County’s Wastewater Treatment Division protects public health and enhances the environment by collecting and treating wastewater while recycling valuable resources for the Puget Sound region. The division provides wastewater treatment services to 17 cities, 17 local sewer districts and more than 1.8 million residents across a 420-square-mile area in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties.