Minimum Needs for CSO Tank Capacities

Minimum Needs for CSO Tank Capacities
at or near Barton and Murray Pump Stations

KCWTD has provided me with pretty much the same data I ferreted out of their “Annual” reports to the State Department of Ecology regarding CSO spills from Murray and Barton pump station outfalls. They did not provide data for 2009, even though here we are four months into 2010. They claim it is unavailable because their report to Ecology is not required until July this year. I objected to that excuse and I am still asking for 2009 data.

KCWTD states at their websites for the Barton and Murray pump stations that:

For Barton – “In 2008, King County reported that the Barton CSO facility has four overflows per year on average that discharge a total of four million gallons into Puget Sound off Fauntleroy. King County’s goal is to reduce the number of CSOs each year, with a long-term goal of no more than one untreated discharge per location per year on a long term average to meet state regulations.”

For Murray:In 2008, King County reported that the Murray CSO facility has five overflows per year on average that discharge a total of five million gallons into Puget Sound off Lowman beach. King County’s goal is to reduce the number of CSOs each year, with a long-term goal of no more than one untreated discharge per location per year on average to meet state regulations.”

Fact is Murray pump station CSO from the documents provided so far was 10,311,936 gallons from three reported spills in 2008. Fact is Barton pump station CSO from the documents so far provided was 779,492 gallons in 2008.

Question: Why KCWTD would under-report spills from Murray in 2008 by more than 5 million gallons, and over-report spills from Barton in 2008 by more than 3 million gallons is anyone’s guess. It could be because the figures they sent me are incorrect. It could be that KCWTD is assigning a certain amount of the Murray CSO to Barton because it may have originated there. It is anyone’s guess. Memo to KCWTD: It doesn’t help your credibility to have such glaring apparent discrepancies in data without explaining them or correcting them.

Need: The figures for Barton shown in the documents I have received so far for the years 2007 and 2008 are highly questionable since they report very low volume spills compared to the 2006 figure which was 24 million gallons. Why the spills would go from 24 million gallons in 2006 to 400 and 780 thousand gallons for the years 2007 and 2008 is really unexplained and unlikely.

During 2007 and 2008, Murray spilled 12 million and 10 million gallons respectively. It could be possible that what might have been potential spill from Barton, that is, what was theretofore over-capacity for Barton was shipped on down to Murray due to the larger capacity of the two pipes available since mid-2006 (which used to be one). A second pipe was added during the repair of the older pipe between Barton and Murray during early 2006. See news releases: King County to replace aging Lincoln Park sewer line and Lincoln Park sewer line repair.

Why the One Two Million Gallon Tank Proposed for the Murray Pump Station is Substantially Under-Built (This has been amended in various recent (June 1, 2010) documents, but not consistently so, to be a Two Million Gallon Tank)

As noted above, King County’s “long-term” goals are for one spill per year, per outfall. That means, one spill from Barton per year, and one spill from Murray per year. Now, I admit, the term “long term” is not defined, so I am not sure what they are trying to indicate, but if the long term goal is that, the current plans don’t come close. I guess that means they will be back to construct more tanks or some kind of facility to meet that “long-term” goal, since their current plans don’t come close to those goals.

Murray Spill Figures and KCWTD’s Goal (1 2 million gallon tank)

If we use more than the 2008 figures, which are clearly erroneous, such as a 2.5 year history of figures, there were 15 spills from Murray into the Sound during mid 2006 to end of 2008, of those 15 spills 7 were more than 2 million gallons, with the lowest one that was over 2 million gallons being 2.845 million gallons. The rest were in the 2.9 to 5.5 million range with one spill at 107 million gallons (a huge spill unexplained in their charts).

Thus, if the goal of one spill per year is truly their goal, during those years with a 2 million gallon tank available, they would have spilled into the sound an average of around 2.5 spills per year. Maybe, I am missing something here, but capacity is capacity, and I don’t think you can fudge those figures somehow to say that a 2 million gallon tank will come close to reaching the stated goal of one spill per year (unless you use some long-term, very forgiving averaging method, which amounts to “smoke and mirrors” and no real benefit to the Sound)

Barton’s Spill Figures and KCWTD’s Goal (200,000 gallon tank)

If we use the figures that KCWTD has provided me for spills from Barton for the 2.5 years noted above, those figures show that there were 9 spills of which 7 were larger than 200,000 gallons. That means an average of 3 spills per year if the capacity of the tank was 200,000, which is, as far as I can figure, more than 1 spill per year that is the declared goal of KCWTD. Disclaimer: I do not trust the figures given for Barton for the last two years since the spills so allegedly dramatically dropped after 2006.

Why No 2009 CSO Figures Yet?

Clearly, 2009 figures should be available. I am sure that KCWTD keeps those figures in a table just like the ones already sent to me. I have to assume they are stalling for some unexplained reason — until we get them and get to know what they show.

Conclusion

The proposed KCWTD facilities to date are substantially undersized for the declared goal and mission of KCWTD regarding CSO spill events and should be built larger. Unless, as I indicated further, KCWTD plans to come back and expand and build more (oh my god…) to reach their “long-term” goals.  Until proven otherwise, this seems to be the plan.  Build something now, then build more later.

***** If you want to do your own research on CSO amounts, rainfall figures, you name it, go to the CSO Control Annual Reports Page at the KCWTD site. I asked for a table of all the years that KCWTD is allegedly using for their “minimum CSO tank size specs,” but they wouldn’t or couldn’t do that. They sent me a table of CSO events for 2006 to end of 2008. They noted that I could find all the figures I needed for earlier years at the CSO Control Annual Reports Page.

So much for helpfulness.

If you want to really get into other technical aspects of the proposed Barton and Murray CSO solutions, check these web pages: (1) Beach CSO Projects Library and (2) Technical Information Web Page.

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