West Point Treatment Plant
Capital improvement projects at West Point Treatment Plant focus on protecting ratepayer investments through improving system reliability, protecting worker and public safety and the environment, and increasing efficiency.
- West Point Treatment Plant power quality improvement
Power disruptions at the West Point Treatment Plant can cause equipment shutdowns, and when this happens during heavy rain, the facility is overwhelmed and untreated sewage and stormwater flows into Puget Sound. The purpose of the project is to rapidly identify and implement solutions to improve the reliability of the plant’s electrical power supply. Learn more.
- West Point Treatment Plant raw sewage pump replacement
The purpose of this project is to replace the Raw Sewage Pump system and implement structural improvements to the facility. Construction is expected to begin as soon as 2024. Learn more.
- West Point Treatment Plant biogas pipe replacement
The purpose of this project is to replace parts of biogas piping connected to the digesters at West Point that have leaks or corrosion. Learn more.
- West Point Treatment Plant power monitoring upgrades
King County Wastewater Treatment Division has a comprehensive maintenance program for our facilities. As part of our system maintenance, we will replace four electrical switchgears at West Point Treatment Plant 2022 - 2024. Learn more.
- West Point Treatment Plant sedimentation tanks seismic upgrade
West Point Treatment Plant is undergoing upgrades to make the facility more resilient in the event of an earthquake. We are improving large enclosed sedimentation tanks that play a key role in the wastewater treatment process. Learn more.
- Water reservoir modifications
This project protected public health in several ways. King County upgraded the underground water facility to provide safe and efficient access for annual inspection, and meet current standards for protecting water sources. Learn more.
Learn more about these projects
West Point Treatment Plant power quality improvement
Visit project page HERE.
West Point Treatment Plant raw sewage pump replacement
The Raw Sewage Pump system was built in 1966 with the original West Point Treatment Plant. The original system uses four pumps to meet the needed capacity. Pumping untreated combined sewage over a long time has resulted in significant wear on the pumps. In addition, the system could fail during an earthquake due to its age.
The purpose of this project is to replace the Raw Sewage Pump system and implement structural improvements to the facility.
This project will bring improvements to both the pump system and the building that holds the pumps.
- Replacing the pump system will build redundancy in the system. The current system needs all four pumps to meet maximum capacity needs and does not have capacity to handle potential overflows. The new system will only require three pumps of the four pumps to meet maximum capacity needs. The maximum capacity for the system can still be handled even if one pump needs maintenance
- This project will make seismic improvements to the building structure in the event of a potential earthquake.
Learn more from the project FAQ .
Project phase and schedule
The project is currently in the early design phase and will reach final design as soon as late 2023.
The project team analyzed and chose a preferred alternative to develop. The preferred alternative had the greatest value and lowest risk compared to the other three alternatives under consideration. (Learn more from the project FAQ .) During the current project phase, the project team will develop the pump design, conduct a seismic analysis, and begin project permitting. The project team will also determine construction costs and impact, and create an initial construction schedule. The project will then be ready to move into construction. Construction is expected to begin as soon as 2024. It will take approximately one year to replace each of the four pumps. Construction will last approximately five years, through 2029.
Community impacts and outreach
The County anticipates that impacts to the nearby community during construction, such as noise, will be minimal as construction will take place inside the treatment plant walls.
We will provide ongoing updates on our website as the project progresses. Sign up for email or text updates for current West Point Treatment Plant capital improvement projects below.
West Point Treatment Plant biogas pipe replacement
The process to clean wastewater requires lots of energy, but it also produces energy. At the West Point Treatment Plant, renewable energy is produced from the wastewater treatment process and has helped to power the facility since it opened in 1966.
During wastewater treatment, organic solids are pumped into large tanks called digesters that are heated at 98 degrees. In the digesters, bugs (anaerobic bacteria) break down organic material and kill pathogens. This activity creates digester gas, or biogas, that fuels two internal combustion engines much like how gasoline fuels an automobile engine. These engines in the internal combustion cogeneration system power generators that produce electricity for West Point. The exhaust heat from the engines provides heat for boilers, digesters and occupied spaces. The biogas contains about 60 percent methane but also contains sulfuric acid (a byproduct of the hydrogen sulfide in biogas) that wears down on the pipes that carry the renewable energy.
The purpose of this project is to replace parts of biogas piping connected to the digesters at West Point that have leaks or corrosion. Plans for this project include:
- Replacing the biogas piping system for the north and south digester pods
- Replacing piping of various sizes in the treatment plant’s underground tunnel
- Building a new pipe over the primary sedimentation tanks to provide redundancy for an existing buried pipe. The existing pipe would be rehabilitated with a method known as cured in place pipe
- Replacing horizontal beams that support biogas piping in the tunnel
The goal of this project is to bring the corroded biogas piping system into a safe and reliable condition through rehabilitating the existing network and extending the life of the overall system.
This project will be implemented in two phases. Construction will take place entirely within the West Point Treatment Plant area. The construction of Phase 1 was completed October 2020, with Phase 2 construction underway. The construction of the whole project is expected to be completed by 2027.
What to expect
Construction may require temporary partial shutdowns of digesters for inspection, repair and replacement work. Shutdowns are expected to be less than 24-hours for each occurrence. If shutdowns are planned to last longer, neighbors around the treatment plant and Discovery Park will receive advanced notification regarding any temporary closures or planned gas releases.
We provide ongoing updates here as the project progresses.
North and South Digester Pods
The West Point Treatment Plant power monitoring upgrades
King County Wastewater Treatment Division has a comprehensive maintenance program for our facilities. As part of our system maintenance, we are replacing four electrical switchgears at West Point Treatment Plant. Switchgears are a critical part of the wastewater system; they keep wastewater circulating and must operate 24 hours a day. These switchgears are about 45 years old, nearing the end of their useful life, and need to be replaced. This will ensure that the system operates reliably for decades to come.
In 2021 the project is designing replacements for four electrical switchgear lineups in the intermediate pump station and effluent pump station process areas at the plant. Construction is estimated to take place 2022 – 2024. The switchgear replacement is planned for completion in 2024.
The Design phase: Starting in approximately January 2021, King County will design replacements for four electrical switchgear lineups in the intermediate pump station and effluent pump station process areas at the plant.
We provide ongoing updates here as the project progresses.
West Point Treatment Plant sedimentation tanks seismic upgrade
Visit project page HERE.
Water Reservoir Modifications Project
September 2021 Update
King County restoration contractors completed planting 23 Garry Oak and 29 Douglas Fir trees at various locations in Discovery Park last year and now those young trees are taking root. See photos and read more about how we restore natural areas after construction in our Clean Water Stories blog post and a video about the habitat restoration.
The tree plantings are the final part of an overall restoration plan that began in spring of 2020 with native prairie and shrub species plantings completed in the area around the new outfall pipe and diffuser. Within the restoration area, King County will be controlling weeds and watering native plantings. Impacted parts of trails have also been restored.
Protecting people and water sources
The King County Wastewater Treatment Division upgraded the existing underground water facility that serves West Point Treatment Plant, South Beach, and the West Point Lighthouse. The water system carries both potable (drinkable) and non-potable water. Potable water is used at the treatment plant, in water fountains, and at the lighthouse. Non-potable water is used at the treatment plant for industrial processes. The potable water is separated from the non-potable water by a below-grade air gap in the potable water tank.
This project protected public health in several ways. King County upgraded the underground water facility to provide safe and efficient access for annual inspection, and to meet current standards for protecting water sources.
The existing below-grade air gap keeps the water sources separate in the event of an overflow inside the underground structure. Overflows are very rare, but could cause mixing of the two water sources and damage to equipment. King County’s contractors installed new above grade air gaps over each water tank.
The contractor installed an approximately 460-foot outfall pipe to address the potential for overflows. In the very rare event of an overflow, the pipe will carry flows away from the facility to a discharge site, protecting water sources and the facility.
How we built this project
This work took several months. The work area is located near the Loop Trail, just north of where the path forks and splits off at South Beach Trail. Equipment and vehicles used the existing access for the site.
Construction involved demolition of the concrete access hatches to the reservoirs, installing new interior pipes, and building a new roof and access hatch to protect the entryway from rain and debris. The outfall pipe was installed in an excavated trench, which was then backfilled and replanted.
This project affected some vegetation. The project team coordinated with the City of Seattle Parks Department on a plan to restore plants with a palette that blends in to the natural environment and supports the park’s wildlife.
In spring of 2020, King County began restoration of natural areas impacted by construction by planting native prairie and shrub species in the area around the new outfall pipe and diffuser. In late 2020, the County’s restoration contractors completed planting 23 Garry Oak and 29 Douglas Fir trees at various locations in Discovery Park. The tree plantings were the final part of the overall restoration plan. Within the restoration area, the County will be controlling weeds and watering native plantings. Impacted parts of trails have also been restored
The South Beach area that park visitors cherish today did not look like this long ago. The West Point Treatment Plant once took up far more space. When West Point Treatment Plant was upgraded in the 1990’s, designers used improved treatment technologies to make the plant footprint smaller. This opened up space for people and wildlife on trails and natural areas around the treatment plant. King County’s employees still maintain many of these features today.
During design, WTD determined that an avian nesting study will need to be conducted. Construction will take into consideration potential impacts on wildlife, including the nesting periods of birds, and comply with the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The project will include some cutting of small branches on deciduous trees and some brush, including black berry bushes.
King County recognizes that Discovery Park is a popular spot for bird enthusiasts and anticipate that this project will generate interest from community members who frequent the park. WTD will provide ongoing updates as the project progresses.
Meetings, news, project materials
- Informational Open House, February 23, 2019
- News release: Informational open house Feb. 23 for upcoming summertime construction and trail closures at Discovery Park, February 5, 2019
- Frequently asked questions , February 2019
- West Point Treatment Plant C1/C2 Reservoir Modifications Project DNS and Environmental Checklist , December 2018
For more information about capital projects at West Point Treatment Plant, please contact Ryan Harlow, Community Services, email@example.com, 206-848-0814.
24-hour emergency and odor reporting: 206-263-3801
1400 Discovery Park Blvd.
Seattle, WA 98199
If you’d like to receive email or text updates on the West Point Treatment Plant current projects:
Did you know?From then to now: Since 1974, when open sludge lagoons were present on the South Beach at Discovery Park, West Point Treatment Plant has been upgraded to provide award winning wastewater treatment service to our growing region, protecting Puget Sound water quality. Covering treatment processes, installing odor scrubbing equipment, and modifying maintenance practices helps to control odor. Landscaping improvements have restored shoreline areas to a natural area with public access.