Emergency action to speed repairs of West Point Wastewater Treatment Plant

While repairs are being made to King County’s West Point Wastewater Treatment Facility, I’ve been working with my council colleagues and staff at the Wastewater Treatment division to expedite the efforts to get the facility back to full capacity.

On February 9, heavy rains and equipment failure flooded the plant when it was operating at maximal flow rate, about 440 million gallons per day. This resulted in an overflow of storm water and wastewater into Puget Sound when plant managers switched into emergency bypass mode to protect the plant and our workers.

I sponsored a motion unanimously adopted by the Council on February 27. The motion extends the emergency waiver on competitive bidding and solicitation requirements, allowing facility repairs to proceed more quickly. The waiver was initially enacted on February 9 when County Executive Dow Constantine issued a Declaration of Emergency.

I felt given the magnitude of the disaster the Council needed to act quickly, comprehensively, and responsibly. Puget Sound is iconic, beautiful, and a driver of our local ecosystem—what happened must never happen again.

The approved motion extends the waiver period through May of 2018 on the competitive bidding and procurement requirements for repair and replacement contracts. The motion also requires reporting on a quarterly basis on the expenditures being made toward the repairs, estimates on the total cost of the repairs, and actions taken to obtain competitive prices and achieve the County’s other policy goals in spite of the waiver.

The attached photo is from my tour of the facility on February 16th, with Robert Waddle, the Wastewater Treatment Division’s Operations and Maintenance Manager.   For updates on the situation and repairs at the Wastewater Treatment Plant, please see the Wastewater Treatment Division’s Incident Response page.

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