The King County Council has approved a $65 million funding package that will make critical upgrades to the West Point Wastewater Treatment plant at Discovery Park to help prevent wastewater overflows.
The funding decision comes after a difficult winter at West Point—back in January, 11 million gallons of untreated wastewater poured into Puget Sound after a big storm and power outage.
The priority upgrade will be to create a more reliable on-site power supply. According to King County, for the treatment plant to run at its peak capacity of 440 million gallons a day during peak storms, the facility requires about 10 megawatts of electricity, which is the equivalent of powering about 11,000 homes.
It’s possible that the plant may need its own dedicated power feed, so the County has allocated $3 million to determine if that’s the case.
“I’m very pleased that the Council has approved this significant investment in the West Point Treatment Plant’s energy connections,” County Councilmember and legislation co-sponsor Jeanne Kohl-Welles said.
“Maintaining the power supply at the plant is integral to ensuring that equipment is operating well and that the emergency bypass system is not activated. This investment and the urgency shown by the Executive in addressing this problem is a good thing for the health of our region’s waters and the people, plants, and animals that call King County and beyond home.”
Kohl-Welles continues to advocate for more stringent and careful wastewater management—she led the Council on legislation passed after the 2017 catastrophic plant failure and helped secure funding to research how wastewater impacts marine life in the Puget Sound.
Thanks to the approved funding package, the King County Wastewater Treatment Division will purchase services and equipment to start making upgrades.
Photo: West Point Wastewater Treatment plant