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Soundkeeper’s Legal Action Decreases Raw Sewage Entering the Snohomish River

Categories: Media Coverage

Snohomish adds pipelines to help keep sewage out of river.

By Alejandro Dominguez
September 03, 2011

The City of Snohomish had a problem keeping sewage from spilling out of the only pipeline.  When it rained, millions of gallons of untreated water polluted the Snohomish River, violating national standards for clean water.

To fix this, Snohomish added three half-mile pipelines this past year from Historic Downtown to the wastewater treatment plant just west of Highway 9.

The $4.7 million project was completed in June. About 80 percent of the project was paid for by state grants. Snohomish paid $900,000 using a public works trust fund loan, city engineer Steve Schuller said.

In addition to the new pipelines, the city built a walkway beneath Highway 9, upgraded other pipelines and added a pump station on First Street.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony with Rep. Hans Dunshee as a keynote speaker is scheduled for Sept. 13.

With this project done, the city is turning its focus to two other projects at the wastewater treatment plant in an attempt to reduce pollution in the river. The end result would transfer most of its untreated sewage to the plant in Everett. This could happen as early as 2016.

Snohomish would also be in compliance with federal guidelines, something it has not done in about a decade, Schuller said.

Because of pollution going into the river, the city in 2003 was sued by the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, a Seattle environmental group.

“It was to the point that almost every time it rained, raw sewage was going to the Snohomish River,” Executive Director Chris Wilke said. “It was a human health risk and it was damaging our natural resources.”

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