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Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 13, 2013 at 7:33 AM

Department of Ecology’s water-filtering plans

Do not filter stormwater into soil above aquifer

Janet Sailer, from Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District, stands near one of the three district's wells that draws half of the drinking water from the aquifer below where she is standing. (Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times)

Janet Sailer, from Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District, stands near one of the three district’s wells that draws half of the drinking water from the aquifer below where she is standing. (Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times)

Eighteen years ago, Issaquah and Port Blakley communities spent a lot of political and financial capital to assure the local community, King County and state regulators, skeptical groundwater advisory committee members, and concerned citizens that they could be trusted to build a well-planned development over the recharge area of the Issaquah aquifer [“Plan for Issaquah stormwater angers water district,” seattletimes.com, May 6].

I was reminded of that arduous process recently as I walked past the sign for a new Issaquah Highlands gas station. At meetings I attended in 1995, the city and Port Blakley planners promised activities that put the aquifer at risk — like underground gasoline storage tanks, garden pesticides and other contaminants — would not be allowed in this “visionary model environmental community.”

We have deviated far from those earlier promises, groundwater plans and protective ordinances. Issaquah now proposes to inject stormwater with all its contaminants into the ground above that regional aquifer. I could not have even imagined this level of hubris when I testified in 1995 that to take a chance with our aquifer because we are sure we have an engineering solution to any problem is akin to haphazardly removing kidneys because we are sure we have the very best dialysis machines.

It was shortsighted and foolhardy then and it is shortsighted and foolhardy now.

Denise Smith, Issaquah

 

0 Comments | Topics: aquifer, environment, groundwater

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