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 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.