Submitted by LOTT
Our local communities all produce wastewater – water that has been used and sent down the drain. This wastewater contains a variety of chemicals and pollutants picked up in area homes, offices, and businesses. The water must be collected and cleaned up before it is released back to the environment. The water can be treated to various levels of quality, using different treatment technologies, and released in a variety of ways to the environment.
Most of Thurston County’s urban wastewater is treated to advanced secondary standards and discharged to the marine waters of Budd Inlet. Some is treated to reclaimed water standards and reused in the community or infiltrated into the ground. The long-range plan for managing wastewater in the Lacey-Olympia-Tumwater region in the future has been centered on expanding reclaimed water production and groundwater recharge.
Recently, questions and concerns about infiltration of reclaimed water have been raised because contaminants from medicines, cleaners, and other household products may remain in the water after treatment. To address those questions, the LOTT Clean Water Alliance – whose members are the cities of Lacey, Olympia, and Tumwater, and Thurston County – is beginning a multi-year scientific study.
The study goal is to provide local, scientific data and gather community perspectives related to water quality, wastewater treatment, reclaimed water, and groundwater recharge. The study will also engage technical experts to help characterize local groundwater conditions and potential water quality concerns. However, improving our understanding of our local water resources is only one piece of the overall study effort.
Community conversations about these issues is another key piece of the study effort. To foster meaningful community-wide dialogue about water quality and related issues, LOTT will engage the public in a series of workshops and public involvement opportunities. Together, the science and the community dialogue generated during the study will help policymakers make informed decisions about future reclaimed water treatment and uses.
As part of the initial design of the study, public input will be gathered at a Public Workshop on Monday, December 9, from 6:30-9:00 p.m., in the LOTT Board Room, 500 Adams Street NE in Olympia.
The workshop will begin with an open house and staffed information stations so that members of the public can ask questions and learn more about topics related to the study, such as reclaimed water, groundwater infiltration, and residual chemicals from medicines and household and personal care products. A presentation about the study and an overview of the study’s design will begin at 7:00 p.m., followed by discussions to gather input about the proposed study design.
More information about the workshop and the Reclaimed Water Infiltration Study is available at www.lottcleanwater.org/groundwater.htm.