Reminder – SPU Public Meeting on Most Promising Blocks for Roadside Raingardens

As a reminder, Seattle Public Utilities is holding a public meeting this coming Wednesday, June 5th to report back on the results of the most recent soil testing that was done to evaluate the infiltration potential of selected blocks in the Loyal Heights area. This is your opportunity to learn more about SPU’s  “Ballard Natural Drainage Options Analysis 2015” as well as the next steps SPU is planing to take.  Please plan to attend!

The meeting will take place on: Wednesday, June 5, 6-8 p.m. in the downstairs Fellowship Hall of Northminster Presbyterian Church, 7706 25th Ave NW (across from the Loyal Heights Elementary School’s field on the northeast corner of NW 77th Street and 25th Avenue NW). June Letter to Residents

6:00  p.m. – Overview for people new to the project
6:30 p.m. – Open house with project staff
7:30 p.m. – Breakout sessions by project area

See the map of most-promising streets (pdf)

See the results of the December 2012 survey (pdf)

The results of the most recent soil testing are not yet available on-line because they are in draft form.  They are being reviewed by a third-party reviewer.  We will post the final geotechnical results and soil logs once the report has been finalized.

To sign up with SPU for project updates click here: Sign up for project updates


CSO Updates as of May 12, 2013

1.      Ballard’s Surface Water, Groundwater and Drainage

 As SPU is exploring options for “natural drainage 2015,” we want a better understanding of the location of groundwater, surface water and springs in the Ballard area.  We asked Seattle Public Utilities to map the results from the community survey to see what residents reported about these matters in their neighborhoods.   You can download the maps here:

Block level responses regarding the presence of groundwater

Block level responses regarding presence of surface water.

Block level awareness of Natural Springs

2.      Spring Soil Test Results to be Released Mid-May

 The results of the latest round of soil testing will be released around May 17th.  I will post the documents on this website.  They will be reviewed by a third-party reviewer.  We will have a chance to review the results and also to pose questions to a third-party reviewer.  SPU plans to discuss these results at a community meeting that will be held during the second week of June.  Additional details will follow.

3.      Update on the bigger picture for addressing Ballard’s Combined Sewer Overflow problems

The Ballard’s combined sewer overflow problem is so large that some type of underground storage facility will have to be built to contain the CSO volume so that it does not overflow during storm events. The stored volume would then be fed into the sewer system for regular treatment at the West Point Sewage Treatment Plant.

SPU currently is evaluating for four options for reducing sewage overflows. Under two of these options Ballard would have its own storage facility, the size of which could be affected by the ability to locate roadside raingardens on a large-scale. The other two options involve two versions of tunnel options, which would be shared with King County.  These options are described in SPU’s Community Guide to Protecting Seattle’s Waterways.

You will have an opportunity to tell SPU what you think they should consider in assessing these alternativesSPU will be taking public comments between May 20th and June 20th, 2013. Their Draft Plan and Draft EIS will be issued in early 2014.    More information about the Long Term Control Plan  

Join Us for the Next Ballard Stormwater Consortium Meeting – April 23rd

The next Ballard Stormwater Consortium meeting will be held on Tuesday April 23rd from 4:30 p.m.  to 6:00 p.m. to learn more about the results of Seattle Public Utilities’ community survey, the status of their soil testing in the glacial outwash area, and what other options are being considered for addressing Ballard’s Combined Sewer Overflow problem.   The meeting will be held in the conference room at the Ballard Neighborhood Center  located right next to the Ballard Public Library at 5604 22nd Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107.

Meeting Agenda

1. Briefing on Ballard’s surface water, groundwater and drainage30 min.   Review and Discuss maps and results from the community survey and other data points to provide an integrated look at the location of springs, seepage, groundwater, perched water as well information about the prevalence and location of on-site drainage systems and downspouts disconnected from the sewer.

     2.  Update on field testing results and scheduled release of raw data 15 min.

     3.   Update on the bigger picture for addressing Ballard’s CSO problems – 45 min.  Review and discuss CSO storage options currently under consideration for Ballard..

Please join us!

SPU Is Testing the Soil in the Advance Outwash Area

As you probably already know, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is in the process of testing soil in the areas that have been identified as most suitable for potentially locating infiltrating roadside raingardens. We have been trying for some time to get the schedule and location of these tests.

Here is the Original Map of the sites that SPU planned to test, along with their original schedule.  It turns out that information gathered from some of the early vactor locate tests indicated that three of the originally selected sites did not have favorable soils for infiltration, SPU had to identify alternate sites and then work with the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to  revise their  street use permit. As of this morning, SPU was still waiting for approval for the new locations.The attached Revised Map was draft when I received it this morning.

This afternoon I received the following information, which I believe refers to tests that were done today (Thursday 4/4), tests that will done tomorrow (Friday 5/5) and vactor tests that will be done next week.  Here is the schedule:

Thursday tests

  • 2354  NW 73rd St         NW 73rd St between Jones and 24th Ave NW
  • 7359  23rd Ave NW       NW 75th St between Jones and 23rd Ave NW

 Friday tests:

  • 2101      NW 77th St         NW 75th St between 21st and 22nd Ave NW
  • 7057      22nd Ave NW       NW 73rd St between 22nd and 23rd Ave NW

Next Monday and Tuesday.  The additional two days of vactor work next week are April 8 and 9  and will occur as shown in the  revised map, with the note that if Monday (4/8) goes well, SPU would start working on some of the  locations  that were originally planned for Tuesday 4/9./

We look forward to reviewing the results of these tests.

Two Maps of Community Survey Results

Earlier this month staff from Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) shared the results of survey of Ballard area residents. Community Survey Results.

Here is a map that shows the responses to question 1: How often do you h ave problems with groundwater, such as natural springs or water seeping into your basement or crawl space?  The responses are shown at the block level.
Map of Groundwater Responses  (11″  x 17″)

Here is a map that shows the responses to question 10: Knowing what you know now about natural drainage systems, how much do you support a project to construct natural drainage systems in the parking strips in your neighborhood?  The responses are shown at the block level.  Map of How Supportive People Are  (11″  x 17″)

We have requested the mapping of reports of surface water on property (Question 2) and drainage-related questions (3 and 4).


Update on Community Survey and Next Steps with Soil Testing

On March 5th staff from Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) briefed members of the Ballard Stormwater Consortium about the results of the community survey, which blocks they have determined may be suitable for roadside raingardens, and where they plan to do additional soil testing .  They also discussed the consultants that they have hired to provide an independent technical review of SPU’s work and the timing and steps for evaluating and reporting back on the effectiveness of the Phase I roadside raingardens.  The meeting handouts are attached: Meeting Agenda.  Community Survey Results  Map of blocks that have been selected for additional testing. Status of Phase I Raingarden Testing

SPU is working on mapping the community survey results at the block level and will make those maps public. They will be posted here when they are ready.

SPU is moving ahead with their plans to do test soils on designated blocks.  They will be doing pit tests (digging about 4 feet down) and also shallower tests between March 25th and the end of April.   Several Ballard Stormwater Consortium members plan to monitor those tests.  SPU Letter to Residents. 

Join us for SPU Briefing on Tuesday March 5th

The next meeting of the  Ballard Stormwater Coalition  will be held on Tuesday March 5th from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. in the large meeting room at the Ballard Public LibrarySPU staff will provide updates on:

1. The Ballard community survey results with more detail than was provided at the February 12th public meeting.  We hope to see drainage problems mapped out at the block level, particularly in the advance outwash area that is being considered for further testing.I

 2. Plans and next steps regarding soil testing in the target area, including the dates that the tests will take place. 

3.  An update on the  independent consultants that have been hired by SPU to do quality assurance and quality control. 

4. Other issues of interest to Coalition members.



Additional Information about SPU Soil Testing Results

On February 5th 2013, SPU staff briefed members of the Ballard Stormwater Consortium on the results of their October 2012 and December 2012 soil testing. They summarized the steps that they took in testing the soils and what they found out about the soil and groundwater.  The presentation contains these findings and describes SPU’s proposed next steps in identifying blocks that they believe are suitable for roadside raingardens.  SPU Feb 5 Presentation

We are looking forward to learning about the results of the community survey in terms of where people reported groundwater problems, wet basements, historical streams and other water problems.  It will be important for these to be taken into account.

Draft 2012 Soil Test Report Is Available

On February 1st Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) released a Draft Geotechnical Report that analyzes the results of soil tests that were undertaken in October and December 2012 to identify potential sites where soils with “medium to high:” infiltration capacity likely exist in the [Ballard] basin.”  The report describes geological conditions in the area and presents conclusions regarding depth to hydraulic restriction and potential infiltration areas.  The report contains the draft soil boring logs .February 2013 Draft Geotechnical Report

SPU previously conducted soil tests in the Ballard Basin in 2009 and 2010 including deep soil boring tests, test pits and shallower hand-auger tests. These historical tests can be downloaded here. Historical Tests

The Ballard Stormwater Consortium will be meeting with Seattle Public Utilities to discuss the results of this report and proposed next steps on Tuesday February 5th from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m at the Ballard Public Library.  SPU will inform the community of these results at a public meeting on Tuesday February 12th from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the Sunset Hill Community Club.

To learn more about the types of soils in Seattle read Glacial Geology of the City of Seattle by William James Stark and Donal Ray Mullineaux (1950), available from the Seattle Public Library. My Summary Notes.

January Stormwater News

Seattle Public to Hold a Public Meeting on February 12th

Seattle Public Utilities plans to present the results of the soil testing and analysis as well as the results of the community survey on February 12th, 2013 from 6 – 8 PM at the Sunset Hill Community Club, 3003 NW 66th Street.

Ballard New Tribune Article – Ballard Takes the Cake At Polluting Puget Sound

.This is a good description of the problem.  We would point out that 22 blocks worth of roadside raingardens may not be a good fit in an area with poor infiltrating soils, high variability of soils over short distances, and a high water table.  We are still trying to get the raw data from the October 2012 soil testing.

We Commented on Draft Director’s Stormwater Rules Affecting Homeowners

On December 5, 2012 the directors of Seattle Public Utilities and the Seattle Department of Planning and Development  issued draft rules establishing Requirements for Green Stormwater Infrastructure to the Maximum Extent Feasible for Single-Family and Residential Parcel-Based Projects.  We evaluated the proposed requirements and provided comments based on our experience with the unsuccessful effort to apply infiltration-based green infrastructure projects in our Ballard neighborhood.

2012 Directors Rule for GSI      Comments on Directors Rule on Residential GSI_12.31.12