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Kitsap PUD to ask county voters for wastewater treatment authority

Click to view the Information Release, July 29, 2015.

Q & A - ballot proposition for wastewater authority on the fall ballot

Why has the KPUD commission placed the question of wastewater authority on the ballot?

Washington State law allows PUDs to operate but not own wastewater treatment facilities. In order to manage the responsibility of constructing and owning a community wastewater treatment plant, KPUD needs a vote of the public at a general election.

Why is it important to treat and return reclaimed water to the groundwater?

Kitsap County is one of three counties in Washington State that does not receive runoff from mountain snowpack or glaciers. Insofar as our water cycle functions like that of an island, it is imperative that we recycle as much of our water resources as possible. We only have the water that has fallen on the county as rain for Kitsap's drinking supply. There is no water running from mountain glaciers, or streams, no large rivers cutting through our county on the way to the Pacific Ocean. All water in the county is in the ground, springs or lakes and the only source of this water is rain and what little snow falls on the county.

Why does KPUD treat wastewater?

Kitsap PUD is county-wide, publicly owned entity responsible for water resource management in Kitsap County. KPUD will treat wastewater to high enough standards, that the reclaimed water can recharge (return) to the ground water resources of the county.

Why aren't the existing county treatment plants sufficient?

There are many communities not served by existing municipal waste treatment facilities. Membrane BioReactor (MBR) treatment facilities are designed for smaller and more "offsite" areas. These facilities can serve as few as 50 homes. Some areas of the Kitsap County need a better alternative to on-site systems.

What is reclaimed or recycled water?

Reclaimed water is produced by treatment of municipal or domestic wastewater. The treatment processes are designed to assure that the water is safe and suitable for reuse. Sometimes called water recycling or water reuse, the process of reclaiming water involves an engineered treatment system that speeds up nature's restoration of water quality. Washington State Departments of Health and Ecology permit and/or regulate these systems.

How does reclaimed water help Kitsap County and Washington?

Washington's economy and quality of life are intimately tied to our water. Throughout history, investments in water and wastewater infrastructure have been central components of successful civilizations. We rely on rain to replenish our aquifers and supply our lakes, streams, and rivers with water. Our population is increasing. Rainfall trends continue to vary. With reduced rain, less water will be available during critical summer months for both in-stream (fish flow) needs and human water demands. Reclaimed water can be used to meet these increasing demands, allowing our drinking water supplies to be sustained.

Wastewater Project will Restore Shellfish Beds, Replenish Aquifer

In 2014, a group involved in the restoration of Gamble Bay asked Kitsap PUD to assist in a project to renovate the wastewater treatment plant at Port Gamble. As part of a broader effort to restore Puget Sound, the Washington State Legislature had appropriated $2 Million to redirect the plant's effluent from Hood Canal to a large, upland drainfield. Kitsap PUD was contacted because:

1.Under a Memorandum of Understanding with Kitsap County, Kitsap PUD serves as lead manager for the county's groundwater resources.
2.Kitsap PUD is already involved in a project to renovate Port Gamble's drinking water system.
3.The law requires a public agency to administer the $2 Million state appropriation.

Kitsap PUD considered the project and decided to participate for the following reasons:
1.Kitsap County is one of three counties in Washington State that does not receive runoff from mountain snowpack. Insofar as our water cycle functions like that of an island, it is imperative that we recycle as much of our water resources as possible. This project will recharge up to 100,000 gallons/day of high-quality water to the Port Gamble area groundwater system. We believe projects such as this will help sustain Kitsap's groundwater supplies.
2.Redirecting the effluent from Hood Canal to an upland drainfield supports the broader goal of recovering Puget Sound.
3.Redirecting the effluent from Hood Canal to an upland drainfield opens up approximately 90 acres of now-closed shellfish harvesting areas.

The plan calls for the existing wastewater treatment plant to be replaced with a state-of-the-art "membrane bio-reactor", or MBR, plant. MBR plants process sewage through a two-step process: a biologic reaction followed by passage through a membrane. This results in a higher quality effluent than the traditional wastewater treatment plant. By adding a disinfectant, such as chlorine, the effluent reaches Class A (essentially drinking water quality) standards. Kitsap PUD believes returning this high quality water to our local aquifers, where it can benefit people and wildlife, is preferable to flushing the water out to Puget Sound.

Question: Why is Mason PUD #1 involved?
Kitsap PUD currently has the authority to operate and manage wastewater treatment facilities; however it lacks the authority to own these facilities. A condition of the State appropriation requires the infrastructure to be owned by a public agency once construction is complete. Kitsap PUD will likely be asking county voters for full wastewater treatment and reuse authority in the fall of 2015. Until then, KPUD must partner with another entity that DOES have full authority. To keep this important community project moving forward, Kitsap PUD has partnered with Mason PUD #1.

Question: Will Kitsap PUD be involved in more small scale wastewater treatment and reuse projects?
KPUD has no specific plans for additional facilities at this time. We have been approached; however, by other small scale wastewater treatment facilities, located rurally, that need upgrading. MBR plants, with their ease of construction and ability to return high-quality water to Kitsap's groundwater system, are an attractive alternative to traditional treatment facilities.

Do these projects compete with other large scale wastewater facilities in Kitsap County?
No. We believe these small scale plants will serve communities and applications outside the reach of Kitsap's centralized wastewater treatment facilities. The benefits of these projects; however, will extend beyond their immediate area as water is returned to the ground to sustain our aquifers and feed the streams on which salmon and other wildlife depend.

Board Meeting: Aug 22, 2017, 9:30am

Board Meetings are held every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month at 9:30am. The meetings are held at our offices and are open to the public. For Minutes and Agendas from previous Board Meetings, visit our Archives
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