Work begins to ID projects that cut pollution in Miller and Walker Creeks


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King County announced Thursday (Nov. 7) that new projects will be planned to improve water quality in two small southwest King County creek basins, thanks to state and federal grant funding earmarked for projects that reduce runoff and pollution.

The Miller-Walker Basin Steward at King County has received a $235,000 Watershed Protection and Restoration Grant from the Washington Department of Ecology for stormwater retrofit planning and project design. The funding originated from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The grant will be used to conduct an assessment of stormwater runoff control needs for existing buildings, parking lots and roads in the Miller-Walker creeks basin, and to create preliminary designs for three or more new projects that will reduce runoff and pollution.

The Miller-Walker creeks basin covers approximately eight square miles in the cities of Burien, Normandy Park and SeaTac, as well as portions of unincorporated King County and property owned and managed by the Port of Seattle. The cities and the Port are grant partners with King County, and will assist with this project.

Most of the stormwater that runs into the storm drains in the basin is not treated, carrying with it pollutants such as motor oil, copper, and a host of chemicals. Grant funding will be used to locate and design stormwater controls to help reduce polluted runoff entering the two small creeks.

Work on the grant began in July, and is scheduled to be completed by November 2014. A technical consultant team has been hired to evaluate the amount of water that needs to be controlled in each small drainage area of the basin, as well as the suitability of each area for stormwater retrofit projects.

Those retrofit projects could include standard facilities such as detention ponds or underground vaults that store stormwater and slowly release flows. Other possible projects could be newer types of infrastructure, such as rain gardens, bioswales, pervious pavement, or green roofs.

Potential locations for these stormwater retrofit projects would be alongside roads, parking lots or roofs, and would be on public property.

Public meetings will be scheduled to share information about the overall stormwater effort with interested community members, and to gather input about specific components of the work.

At least three projects will be designed, and if there is support and interest, these could be submitted to Ecology for future funding for completing the designs and construction.

Through this work, the grant partners will gain a better understanding of the needs and opportunities for reducing runoff and pollution in the basin, and will be able to use that information for long-term planning.

For more information, contact Elissa Ostergaard, Miller-Walker Basin Steward, at 206-477-4792 or [email protected]. Learn more about the Miller-Walker Basin at http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/watersheds/central-puget-sound/miller-walker-creeks.aspx.

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