Edmonds group vows to fight Brightwater

By Janice Podsada

Herald Writer

EDMONDS — John Quast and Laurie Dressler came down from a mountain a week ago and discovered that Edmonds was on the short list for the Brightwater wastewater treatment plant.

Husband and wife had spent four weeks backpacking on Cowboy Mountain near Stevens Pass.

The Edmonds couple then learned that King County Executive Ron Sims had named the Edmonds Unocal site as one of two finalists for Brightwater, King County’s third wastewater treatment plant. The other finalist site is near Bothell on Highway 9.

"We were upset," Quast said. "We talked with neighbors and residents in the area. That led to our first meeting on Sunday."

The 10-member group, which opposes the Unocal site, is so new it doesn’t even have a name. But that didn’t stop the group from recruiting new members Wednesday at a public open house meeting held by Brightwater officials.

More than 200 people attended the meeting at Edmonds-Woodway High School. Officials from King County’s Department of Natural Resources wastewater division discussed the site-selection process and the reasons why the Edmonds site was chosen, and took comments from residents. Poster-sized photos and graphics lined the walls of the school gym.

Their presentation did not sway group member Janice Freeman of Edmonds.

"If something were to go wrong, we could have our beaches and marina fouled," Freeman said. "This a dog and pony show. Our group has no say and no money to answer this kind of presentation. I call it propaganda."

The Unocal site is a former petroleum tank farm undergoing an environmental cleanup, which should be completed in five years.

Sims is scheduled to make the final Brightwater site selection in January 2003. Brightwater will treat wastewater from north King County and south Snohomish County.

But not from Edmonds.

The city is already home to two wastewater treatment plants — the Edmonds treatment plant downtown and Lynnwood’s plant near Meadowdale, said Steve Koho, who manages the Edmonds plant.

However, John Spencer, a Brightwater consultant, said the fact that Edmonds already has two treatment plants will be taken into consideration. "It is a possibility that the Edmonds plant could be shut down and hooked into Brightwater."

Freeman said she objects to Brightwater because the Unocal site is prime view location. "It’s one of the last spectacular pieces of land on Puget Sound. It’s offensive to have a sewage treatment plant in such a beautiful place," she said.

The Edmonds City Council recently passed a resolution opposing the site’s selection. Though group members applaud the move, they don’t feel county government is paying them heed, Quast said.

"The problem is the Snohomish County Council has abandoned us. We haven’t heard from them. Where are they?"

"We feel like we’re tiny Edmonds fighting King County, the great Goliath."

For more information about the group that opposes the Edmonds site, call John Quast at 425-776-4872.

You can call Herald Writer Janice Podsada at 425-339-3029 or send e-mail to podsada@heraldnet.com.

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