Current Ballard Projects

The City of Seattle, King County, and the Port of Seattle all have roles to play  in addressing Ballard’s Combined Sewer Overflow(CSO)  and Stormwater problems.  They are required to do this  by the federal Clean Water Act.  The Clean Water Act sets water quality standards that must be met.  The Washington Department of Ecology sets these standards for public and private sewage and wastewater discharges, as well as for private and public stormwater discharges. The following projects and programs currently are underway in Ballard. Map of Current Projects

1.  Ballard  CSO Retrofits and Monitoring
During the past two years Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) has done projects to improve the functioning of Ballard CSO Outfall 150/151 (at the foot of 24th Ave NW) and CSO Outfall 152 (at the foot of 28th Ave NW).

* In 2010, SPU replaced the existing broad-crested weirs with sharpcrested weir plates at Outfall 150/151, thereby improving flow monitoring accuracy;

* In 2011, SPU replaced the unlevel broad-crested weir at Outfall 152 with a level adjustable sharp-crested weir plate and raised the overflow weir 2 inches. This modification improves the accuracy of flow measurements from Outfall 152; and

* In 2012, SPU is sampling sediments from inside the pipe at Outfall 152. The sediment is being sampled to determine what types of contaminants are showing up at the outfall.  This monitoring is being done to gain a better understanding of the types of contaminants that are being generated by Ballard homes and businesses. Also, it is required under  SPU’s permit.  The sampling should be completed by the end of the summer.  Results should be available in 2013.

2.  Ballard Roadside Raingarden Pilot Project
In 2010, SPU constructed roadside raingardens in five areas in Ballard. For a variety of reasons the project did not unfold as planned.  Many of the raingardens did not drain adequately and a portion of the non-draining and poorly draining raingardens were removed.  The remaining non-draining raingardens were redesigned and on lower 28th Ave NW under-drains were put in to test the concept of “live storage” of stormwater. We look forward to learning how effective the remaining roadside raingardens are. Lessons Learned

3.  Ballard Siphon Replacement
The Ballard Siphon project involves upgrading a pair of 70-year-old wooden sewer pipes  to strengthen existing infrastructure while adding needed capacity to serve growth in the north Seattle area.  Currently, the pipes convey up to 60 million gallons a day of wastewater across the bay, on its way to the West Point Treatment Plant.  King County engineers and consultants are working to determine how to restore a pair of old wooden sewer pipes nested deep in the sediment of Salmon Bay. The active sewer pipeline between the end of 20th Avenue Northwest in Ballard and the former Marco Shipyard on the Magnolia side is called the Ballard Siphon. Wastewater from homes and businesses in Ballard now flows by gravity through the siphons and across the bay, moving from the higher elevated pipes on the north side of the canal to the lower elevation on the south side. The wastewater ultimately ends up at West Point Treatment Plant in Magnolia.  The project currently is in the procurement phase.  Construction started in 2011 and will end 30-36 months after construction began. Ballard Siphon replacement details:

4.  North Beach CSO Project
According to King County Wastewater Treatment Division, the North Beach Combined Sewer Overflow facility has 10 overflows per year on average that discharge a total of 2.2 million gallons into Puget Sound off of North Beach.  At North Beach, King County is working to meet current regulations set by the Washington Department of Ecology which require no more than one untreated discharge per year on a long-term average. To meet this standard, King County is designing and building an underground storage pipeline in the right-of-way in N.W. Blue Ridge Drive and Triton Drive N.W. This facility will need to store about 230,000 gallons of peak flows when the North Beach Pump Station reaches maximum capacity.  The project currently is in the design phase, with construction expected to begin in 2013 and be completed in 2015.  Interested members of the public are invited to participate in community meetings and workshops. Project Details

5. Stormwater Management and Monitoring at Shilshole Bay Marina
Shilshole Bay Marina is operated by the Port of Seattle.  It is required to comply with the Port’s municipal stormwater permit which governs stormwater management at all Port operated facilities.The Port has a Stormwater Management Program that applies to all of its facilities and it provides educational information for its tenants about permit requirements and how to prevent stormwater pollution.In addition,  Approximately 300 of the moorage slips at Shilshole Bay Marina tenants are occupied by residents who live aboard their boats.

Shilshole Bay Marina has two basic contamination issues: fecal contamination and contamination from parking lot runoff (carrying oils, metals and hydrocarbons).  It is not clear where the contamination is originating. The Port is studying these contamination problems and is working to mitigate them. They are working to prevent contaminated parking lot runoff  through a program of catch basin cleaning, sweeping and tenant education about not getting contaminants into the parking lot.  The Port is also monitoring the stormwater and the sediments at one outfall, and reporting the results to Ecology.

The Port of Seattle is accepting public comment on a draft motion to restore Puget Sound (highlighted on the environmental home page). Comments are due by June 30th, 2012.

6. Residential Rainwise Program
SPU ‘s Residential Rainwise Program encourages homeowners to divert the runoff from their roofs into cistern’s and/or raingardens.  The Program will reimburse Ballard residents (and businesses) in the Eligibility Area for each square foot of runoff that will diverted from the combined sewer system.  The amount of the rebate varies according to whether the runoff is slowed down, but eventually ends up in the sewer, or whether it is completely diverted.  To function properly raingardens must be properly sited on sufficiently permeable soil (which must drain at least ¼ inch per hour).  If a yard is too soggy for a raingarden, a cistern that can store rainwater may be the answer.  To learn more visit:  https://rainwise.seattle.gov/city/seattle/overview  Take a tour of Ballard Rainwise Projects.

7. Water Quality Improvement Projects
Seattle Public Utilities and other City departments have a variety of programs and projects that target improving water equality. These include street sweeping, to reduce the quantity of contaminated sediments washed into receiving waters; stormwater protection requirements that are triggered for paving and sidewalk projects; detecting and eliminating places where sewage is improperly connected to stormwater pipes, and stormwater business inspections and audits.  See Restore Our Waters for additional information.

8.  Private Sector Stormwater Projects
The Seattle Stormwater Code requires that all businesses implement and maintain source controls to prevent pollution from leaving their business site.Seattle Public Utilities enforces these code requirements. Some Ballard Businesses have NPDES stormwater discharge permits that require them to meet stormwater quality discharge requirements.  We know of one stormwater water quality improvement project that is planned at 601 NW 40th St. 617 NW 40th St. and 624 NW 40th Street. Map   Project Description

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