What’s in your wastewater?

July 2nd, 2020 by Ken

For eight years, the LOTT Clean Water Alliance has been undertaking a study to determine what – if anything – is in the water they pump back into the ground.  The $5 million dollar study is now about 80 percent complete and preliminary results are starting to make their way to the surface.

Some 45 residual chemicals have been identified for further study because they were found in levels above designated thresholds.  But, another 18 residual chemicals have been identified for further study in the next phase because they were found to have a potential toxicity.

Two decades ago, when Thurston County’s urban areas began rapid growth, it became obvious that a new sewage plant was a necessity.  State government wouldn’t allow the creation of a new sewage plant on Budd Inlet, so the three cities decided to go a new route.   They were going to clean and scrub the sewage, remove impurities in the waterwater, and pump that clean water back in the ground.  It was hoped that customers could be found for the water and purple pipes were laid in various areas of Lacey for use as irrigation.  That customer base didn’t develop and another way of disposing of the water needed to be found.

A reclamation plant was constructed in Northeast Lacey in the Hawks Prairie area and pipes ere extended to pump some of the water to Woodland Creek Community Park.

Concerns began to mount of just how clean the wastewater really was, and LOTT started the study in 2012.  It drilled 14 monitoring sites around the Hawks Prairie plant and began to study the water.  In addition to monitoring for chemicals the study also wanted to determine how quickly the water went through the soil and just where it flowed when it reached groundwater.

A few additional monitoring stations will be drilled as the study proceeds, and the results will be reviewed by a Science Task Force and a Peer Review Panel.  It could be a few more years before we’ll have a better understanding of how well pumping waterwater back into the ground really works.

It must be pointed out that LOTT is doing this of its accord and is not under any requirements from state of federal officials.

The complete study results so far are available on the LOTT website.

Posted in Government, The Real News

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