LAST EDIT: 5/16/2022

Clean Water Plan Update

Thank you to everyone for participating in Clean Water Plan. King County has decided to take some time to consider the feedback they’ve received to date and the status of two major regulatory efforts underway that have significant financial and policy effects on the Clean Water Plan. Those are:

1. Ecology’s Puget Sound Nutrient General Permit. Learn more here.

2. Negotiations with Ecology and EPA regarding King County’s Consent Decree for the CSO control projects. Learn more here.

While they don’t know today exactly where these regulatory efforts will land, King County has said it is committed to complying with all regulatory obligations. They believe a pause in the Clean Water Plan process will allow for more regulatory clarity, which will help all of us to move forward more effectively, and will give the Clean Water Plan team the opportunity to develop responsive changes and adjustments to the planning process.

We will update this page when we know more, thank you for your patience. 

King County is creating a Clean Water Plan!

Because we live in the Pacific Northwest, our relationship to water is one of a kind. The waters, lakes, rivers, and streams that embody the Puget Sound give us food, entertainment, transportation, jobs, and more. 

The King County Clean Water Plan is a major opportunity to contribute to the economic, social, and ecological health of the Puget Sound and those who benefit from its waters. The goal is for this plan to reflect a range of opinions from the residents who live here — the same residents who will be paying for the plan through utility bills. 

King County Waste Treatment Division is responsible for cleaning the water people use and then sending it back to nature. We have hundreds of miles of pipes, pumps, tanks, treatment plants, and other equipment to help us do so. Untreated wastewater can make people sick and cause critical harm to our aquatic wildlife. 

The Clean Water Plan will explore issues around the wastewater system, wet weather, pollution reduction, and financial issues. 

Over the next few decades, the King County will collectively spend billions of dollars investing in the protection of our water quality.

Because of this, King County needs an updated wastewater plan to ensure that we are making the right financial decisions for the most beneficial community outcomes.

The Clean Water Plan will address a wide range of water quality concerns, including but not limited to:

  • Reducing the amount of untreated and polluted sewage water that overflows into local bodies of water during storms
  • Upgrading our 50-year old system of water pipes, pumps, and treatment facilities
  • Improving water quality control spending to ensure the best and safest outcomes for human health, habitat, and wildlife
  • Ensuring benefits from water quality control spending are beneficial and accessible to everyone in the community
  • Coordinating better responses to the changing climate and frequent extreme weather events

King County is committed to a fair and inclusive planning process. To do this, barriers preventing community involvement must be broken down to allow opportunities to hear from all kinds of people — including long-time participants in water quality discussions and new, interested parties.

take the survey
Tell us what you think!

Your participation in this brief 5-minute survey is an important contribution to the Puget Sound community! The first 50 people to complete the survey will earn a $25 gift card! First come, first served.

learn the facts
What is Wastewater?

In short, wastewater is used water. It includes things like human waste, leftover food scraps, soaps, oils, bacteria, and chemicals that can be harmful and make us sick.

Wastewater also includes storm run off. While many people assume the rain that runs down the street during a storm would be fairly clean — it is far from safe to consume. 

In homes, most wastewater comes from any of the following sources:

  • Sinks
  • Showers
  • Bathtubs
  • Toilets
  • Washing Machines
  • Dishwashers 

Businesses also contribute their share of used water into the community that must be cleaned. 

If the phrase “wastewater” is confusing to you, think of it as simply cleaning “dirty” water. Each day, millions of gallons of dirty water is produced within our community. 

This dirty water then travels throughout the city via various pipes, pumps, and water treatment facilities to be returned back to the Puget Sound.

As a result, harmful substances that wash off into our streets (like gas or other vehicle related liquids), parking lots, and rooftops can end up in our rivers, lakes, and ultimately — our drinking supply.

Here are some examples of why having access to clean water is an important priority for our community:

  • Wildlife Habitats: Clean water is critically important to the plants and aquatic wildlife living within the Puget Sound waters. Our rivers and lakes teem with organisms who depend on clean and safe shorelines, beaches, and marshes. 
  • Food: Fish can’t survive in contaminated water.  Clean water has a direct impact on fishing industries that use these same waters as sources of food for the community. 
  • Recreation & Quality of Life: The Puget sound is a wonderful playground for us all. The scenic and recreational uses of our parks, rivers, and lakes is why many of us choose to live in this community. Visitors are drawn to our water activities like white water rafting, swimming, boating, and camping, thus generating money for the community. 
  • Health Concerns: If not treated properly, water can carry disease. Because we live, play. and work so close to various bodies of water, harmful bacteria must be removed to make the water safe for us all. 
Our Wastewater System
Videos to Watch
Water is what connects us
Part of the Cycle
Additional Resources

Feel free to reach out to any of the resources listed for more information. 

Wastewater Treatment Divison

King Street Center | 201 S. Jackson St., Suite 500 | Seattle, WA 98104

(206) 477-5317

WTD Division Directory