Supports King County’s Barton CSO Control Project

The program recently submitted the following letter to King County Executive, Dow Constantine.

Dear Mr. Executive,

The undersigned Board Members of Sustainable West Seattle, a local 501(c)(3) with over 1,000 participants, write to you today in support of King County’s Barton CSO Control Project.

Sustainable West Seattle has made it a priority to educate community members about solutions to polluted runoff with its program. We have been very excited to see King County take progressive action to reduce the roadside runoff that overwhelms our sewage infrastructure and causes combined sewer overflows. As you are well aware, these overflows threaten Puget Sound and the health of the people and wildlife that depend on clean water.

We believe that the proposed green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) project is the right approach to resolve the complex problem of CSO pollution in the region. In addition to slowing the flow and reducing the volume of water entering our storm drains, bioretention swales have the added benefits of attenuating pollution through microbial action, calming traffic, and beautifying our communities. As urban density continues to increase, the benefit of well-designed green spaces will become evermore important. Furthermore, studies suggest that green spaces in urban settings increase the likelihood of people walking and biking in their neighborhoods. In sum, we believe GSI is the best solution for our community because of the multiple benefits it offers to the health of our waterways and our communities.

We are concerned by some information coming out of the West Seattle Community, specifically through the West Seattle Raingardens website.  A very thoughtful rebuttal to the concerns raised on this website can be found here:

We understand that change can be scary and that unfortunate mistakes were made recently in Ballard that have caused some of the alarm to the GSI project in the Barton Basin. But we sincerely hope that these issues won’t derail plans for GSI in our community. Bioretention swales are a well tested and proven technology that have the potential for long-term cost-savings. They’ve been successful reducing runoff in neighborhoods across Puget Sound, including the SEA Streets project in North Seattle and the High Point Neighborhood here in West Seattle. GSI is so effective that it is becoming a solution of choice in cities across the nation, including Portland, New York, Pittsburgh and Los Angeles. In light of the vast success of this technology regionally and nationally, we believe GSI is the right choice for our neighborhood to improve the health of Puget Sound and our local communities.

Thank you for your consideration.

Best Regards,
Cate White, Director and Former SWS Board Member
Chas Redmond, SWS Board Member
Patrick Dunn, SWS Board Member
Melissa Metcalfe, SWS Board Member
Wolf Lichtenstein, Former SWS Board Member
Gene Homicki, Former SWS Board Member

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