EPA lends $ 96.8 million to King County to prevent untreated water from spilling into Puget Sound


West Point Wastewater Treatment Plant. Photo courtesy of the Washington Department of Ecology.

The loan comes a week after an overflow of more than 10 million gallons in Puget Sound and Lake Washington.

The Environmental Protection Agency has granted King County a $ 96.8 million loan to improve water treatment infrastructure and reduce harmful overflows in Puget Sound and its tributaries.

The announcement of the loan comes only about a week after power outages and heavy rains caused the mass discharge of more than 10 million gallons of untreated water into Puget Sound and Lake Washington.

According to a King County press release, an estimated 80 percent of discharged sewage was storm water while 20 percent was sewage. A handful of beaches around the county have been closed to prevent people from being exposed to dangerous water conditions.

Most of the beaches have been reopened after consecutive water quality tests found them to be safe.

According to an EPA press release, the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan will help finance the design and construction of a huge underground storage tank that will capture and store untreated stormwater and wastewater. from severe storms until they can be dealt with.

“This WIFIA loan will help King County better manage stormwater during heavy rains, which means less sewer overflows and less pollution entering Puget Sound,” the EPA administrator said, Andrew Wheeler, in a press release.

King County Natural Resources and Parks Department Director Christie True said the projects funded by the loan would create more than 600 construction jobs in the area.

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