Tag Archives: Manchester

Kitsap to receive major funding for stormwater, sewer construction

Washington Department of Ecology is poised to award $229 million in grants and loans for projects that will help clean up waters throughout the state.

Grants

Grants to Kitsap County include $4.2 million for planned stormwater projects, plus another $4.6 million to lay sewer lines designed to protect shellfish beds in South Kitsap’s Yukon Harbor.

This level of funding for a single round of water-quality grants demonstrates that elected officials are serious about cleaning up Puget Sound and other water bodies throughout the state. The Legislature must still approve the funding for the proposed grants and loans.

The Yukon Harbor project is interesting, because Kitsap County officials were able to show that residents of the South Kitsap area would face a severe hardship if forced to pay for a new sewer line and all the connections themselves.

Yukon Harbor has been the subject of pollution identification and correction projects by the Kitsap Public Health District. Fixing septic systems and cleaning up pollution from animals allowed 935 acres of shellfish beds to be reopened in 2008. See Kitsap Sun, Sept. 25, 2008. But recent studies show that the pollution is growing worse again as some systems continue to have problems. Officials say the best answer is to run a sewer line to properties on or near the beach.

The grant will pay for the sewer line and pump station to carry sewage to the Manchester sewage treatment plant. Some money will be used to help residents pay for the costs of connections to their homes.

Without the state grant, officials estimate that each of the 121 property owners would need to pay about $70,000 to complete the project, according to David Tucker of Kitsap County Public Works. Without the “severe hardship” grant, the project probably would not get done.

One nice thing about this project is that residents will not be required to hook up to the sewer, Dave told me. Those who have upgraded or replaced their septic systems or have systems still working well may continue to use their own on-site systems.

“The common infrastructure will be covered by the grant,” Tucker said, “and people can make a choice about whether they want to connect. Everybody’s septic system is in a different state of condition.”

In addition to the $4.6 million grant, the county will receive a low-interest loan of $432,000 for the remainder of the $5 million needed for the project. Design is scheduled to begin this year, followed by construction in 2017 if things go well.

Meanwhile, stormwater projects continue to gain attention, because they can address both pollution and streamflow problems. In Kitsap Countyu, grants were proposed for the following stormwater projects, which require a 25-percent local match:

  • Clear Creek project, known as Duwe’iq Stormwater Treatment Wetland, which will use a $937,000 grant to create a stormwater wetland off Silverdale Way near Ross Plaza to collect water from 18 acres of commercially developed property.
  • Ridgetop Boulevard Green Streets project, which will use $1 million in a second phase of construction to create biofiltration systems in the median of Ridgetop Boulevard in Silverdale.
  • Silverdale Way Regional Stormwater Facility project will use $1.5 million for new stormwater ponds north of Waaga Way to collect stormwater running off steep hills in the area.
  • Chico and Dickerson creeks project will receive $500,000 to complete the second phase of a project to replace two culverts on David and Taylor roads and establish floodplains to take excess water during heavy rainstorms.
  • Bay Shore Drive and Washington Avenue Filterra project will use $277,000 to install 15 Filterra planter-box stormwater filters to reduce pollution coming off streets in Old Town Silverdale.

Kitsap County also was successful in obtaining a low-interest loan of $3.8 million to replace three aging pump stations and upgrade a sewer line on the beach near Manchester. Since the line is part of the Manchester system, the loan will be repaid through sewer fees.

In all, Ecology received 227 applications requesting more than $352 million in grants and loans. Some $143 million went into loans, and $21 million went into grants allocated to 165 projects statewide. About 110 of the projects involve stormwater pollution.

A public meeting on all the projects will be held at 1 p.m. March 4 at Pierce County Library, 3005 112th St. E., Tacoma. Comments will be taken until March 15. For information and a list projects, check Ecology’s website.

From state post, Jay Manning returns to law practice

Jay Manning, who resigned in June as Gov. Chris Gregoire’s chief of staff, says he is ready to charge back into work as a private lawyer, after spending the summer hiking and mountain biking throughout the Northwest.

Jay Manning

Manning, 53, a native of Manchester in Kitsap County, returned today to his old law firm, an environmental practice that now bears the name Cascadia Law Group. One thing to know about Jay is that environmental issues have always been a central part of his life.

Jay took some time to talk with me today about his reasons for leaving state government and his hopes for the future.

“I had sort of run out of gas,” he confessed. “Although others disagreed, I thought I was not performing as well as I should be, such as my ability to solve problems.”

He said he was beginning to worry about his financial condition, with a son in college and retirement staring him in the face. It was a factor he mentioned in a going-away e-mail to his staff. “There was nothing dire there,” he told me, “but it was a concern.”

Although it may be a cliché, it seems to me that Jay was also thinking a great deal about his family life. His wife, a teacher, had been doing double-duty: keeping the home fires burning while going to work every day. During Jay’s time in state government, his family time was more limited.

“It was time to put myself back as an active member of the family, and it has been so much fun to do that,” he said. “Since July 15, I have really played outside and hung out with family and friends. I have my energy level back.”

As he traveled about the Northwest, Jay said he has come to appreciate the splendor of this region even more. He now lives in Olympia.

Meanwhile, Manning has considered various jobs, including prospects at environmental law firms. He settled on Cascadia Law Group, which he believes takes a rare approach to environmental disputes.

“Unlike most firms, this one does not let themselves get pigeonholed. In one case, they may be representing regulated business. In another case, it can be an Indian tribe, and in another case an environmental group. I like that they represent different viewpoints.”

Manning’s career path has helped him become a skillful negotiator with an ability to see various sides of a problem. Most issues are not black-and-white, he said. People on all sides have viewpoints that deserve respect.

After graduating from the University of Oregon Law School in 1983, Manning joined the Washington State Attorney General’s Office, where he and seven other lawyers represented the Department of Ecology.

When Chris Gregoire became Ecology director in 1987, Manning became chief negotiator during three years of tough talks with the federal government over Hanford cleanup. For a time, he went into private law practice and served on the board of the Washington Environmental Council.

When Gregoire became governor, she quickly named Manning to head up the Department of Ecology, where he served for more than four years before she asked him to become her chief of staff in October 2009.

Manning was grateful. “But for me, it sucked the energy out, in a way the Ecology job didn’t,” he said. “I knew the chief of staff job was hard, but until you’re sitting in that chair, you don’t know how you’ll react to it.”

Manning says his days as a trial lawyer are probably over. He anticipates working on management and public-policy issues, such as controversies over water resources in Eastern Washington. He said he would not be surprised to find himself lobbying for legislation at some point.

He also discusses how he might help environmental groups, either professionally or as a volunteer.

“I’m excited to work on energy efficiency, restoration of Puget Sound and some really exciting water projects on the east side of the state,” he said.

As Ecology chief, Manning headed up the state’s Climate Action Team, and I was surprised that he didn’t mention that specifically as a concern.

“I am concerned,” he told me, “but I don’t talk about it as a climate issue. It’s about making your home and business more efficient. You make a more comfortable place to live and your heating bill goes down. We talk energy efficiency, and climate is smack dab in the middle of it.”

The need to reduce greenhouse gases is clear, he said, but the term “climate change” divides people in ways that “energy efficiency” does not.

I asked him if “energy efficiency” conveys the appropriate sense of urgency about a problem that has our government tied in knots.

“That’s a good point,” he said. “My background would tend to push me toward a strong regulatory response. But I don’t think that is doable now.”

Does he think he’ll ever venture back into politics?

“I would never say ‘never,’ but I am really going to focus on being successful with this firm Cascadia. I saw up close what it takes to be governor. It is hard, and sometimes it is completely unreasonable. There is a big personal sacrifice to be made. Right now my focus is on this new job.”

Cascadia Law Group’s website describes the practice this way:

“Our clients come to us because we solve problems. We set out first to understand each client’s objectives. We then apply our knowledge of the law, persuasive skills, political acumen, and creative thinking to attain those goals. We have successfully helped our clients resolve many of our region’s most difficult environmental issues.”

I’ve talked before about how Jay’s growing up in Kitsap County shaped his concerns for the environment. Check out previous comments on Waterways from Oct. 5, 2009, and Feb. 17, 2008. I wrote a profile about Manning for the Kitsap Sun in February 2008.

Legal questions abound for beach walking, driving

It has been seven months since I launched an informal poll that asks whether people should be allowed to walk across privately owned tidelands as a basic right reserved to the public. The number of respondents has reached nearly 500, and I’d say it is time to retire the poll.

Last July, when I examined the legal implications of the Public Trust Doctrine for a story in the Kitsap Sun, the issue generated 91 lively comments on all sides of the issue. (See the bottom of the story.) Subsequently, I discussed the questions further in Water Ways on July 8, when I launched the poll.

As responses have grown, the percentage of people in each camp has remained nearly the same. In the final count, 62 percent of respondents (301 votes) said the public should be allowed to walk across private tidelands below the high-tide mark.

The remainder was split almost equally between those who believed the public has no right to walk across private tidelands (93 votes) and those who believe the courts should strike a balance, perhaps by allowing people to walk on a lower section of beach when the tide is out (92 votes).
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