Those of us who have been struggling against the Brightwater sewage plant in Edmonds or Woodinville have the distinct impression that it’s like trying to stop a 747 with a pickup truck.
We’re dealing with a big bureaucracy accountable only to an elected official in an adjoining county. Our county appears to have ceded away all rights in the siting process. Site selection criteria are changed willy-nilly mostly to appease one interest group after another.
King County may be the operator of the facility, but it is Snohomish County that has agreed to work with King County to have the services in south Snohomish County. Whether the agreement is formal or informal, Snohomish County government retains the obligation to its citizens to find the very best site.
So far, it has failed the test badly.
The first most of us heard about this plant was last spring when King County informed the world it was looking at a number of sites, all but one in Snohomish. The one King County site was conveniently deleted. To date, Snohomish County has sent no one in my neighborhood a single communication on this project.
By the time everyone caught up to the process, we were down to just two sites, and I am not certain the process has produced the very best site.
The Highway 9 site – a half-mile from my house – will cost a third more to build than the Edmonds site. And no one really has a good idea what the final costs will be.
My guess is that the final bill for the Woodinville site will top $2 billion. No matter what happens, it will disrupt many more lives than just those of us who live near the Woodinville site.
The Edmonds site has its own problems. The one thing I can say for Brightwater here is that they are at least offering up an interesting design concept.
Brightwater, King County and Snohomish County officials insist public disclosure has been more than adequate. I think, frankly, they’re just trying to get the job done now, and the hell with what anyone thinks.