Everett, WA: Environmental impact statement on Brightwater has few surprises - Modeling used instead of gathering detailed airflow information "It's not the same," one activist says.

By Janice Podsada
Everett Herald Writer


Everett, WA - Gerald Farris has a bone to pick with the Brightwater environmental impact analysis that was released Wednesday.

The long-awaited 800-page environmental document made its appearance on the Internet and in CD form Wednesday.

The King County Department of Natural Resources study compares the pluses and minuses of the two Brightwater candidate sites: the Highway 9 site and the Edmonds Unocal site. The document contains few surprises.

The study matches King County Executive Ron Sims' assessment that Brightwater belongs at the Highway 9 site, near the intersection of 228th Street SW and Highway 9 in unincorporated Snohomish County.

Farris, who was only able to scan portions of the document Wednesday, said he found some sections incomplete.

Area residents are concerned about air quality at the site, which is located in a valley and is subject to air inversions, Farris said.

Translated: Odors don't readily dissipate.

Odors from King County's $1.2 billion wastewater treatment plant, which will process up to 36 million gallons of wastewater when it opens in 2010, could hang around the valley if the proper odor controls aren't employed.

The design of an odor control system should take into account the site's air quality and airflows, he said.

But instead of gathering detailed airflow information about the site, the study used a model to predict air circulation. The study compares the Highway 9 site's to an airport -- Everett's Paine Field, Farris said.

"It's not the same," Farris said. "The Route 9 site is in a valley, far removed from Paine Field conditions."

He also criticized King County for erecting just one meteorological station at the 109-acre site.

"They should have had multiple stations," Farris said.

Christie True, Brightwater spokeswoman, defended the study's methodology.

"The Paine Field model provides a reliable simulation of airflows at the Highway 9 site," True said

"It's the same kind of modeling you do with bodies of water. You can't measure every molecule."

The draft version of the environmental analysis contains sections on ground water, soil stability, odor and noise abatement, and the treatment plant design.

Farris said he and other anti-Highway 9 Brightwater opponents plan to meet sometime next week after residents have a chance to look at the entire document.

The draft impact statement is available online at dnr.metrokc.gov/wtd/brightwater/env/.

To request copies by mail, call the Brightwater Project Team toll-free at 888-707-8571.


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