First Hill water work ahead of schedule

The First Hill water system improvement project will continue for most of the year. - Rebecca Mar/Staff Photo
The First Hill water system improvement project will continue for most of the year.
— image credit: Rebecca Mar/Staff Photo

There has been significant progress on the First Hill Water System Improvement Project over the past month. Much of that work has been completed by the R.L. Alia Company (Alia), which contracts with the city for certain aspects of the project, including the installation of water mains, fire hydrants, and service improvements to the First Hill Pump Station.

Since the last update from the city on March 26, Alia crews have completed the following:

• Installed 1,330 feet of new eight-inch water main on portions of 72nd Avenue S.E., S.E. 34th Street, and 72nd Place S.E.

• Installed 670 feet of new eight-inch water main on S.E. 32nd Street.

• Installed 260 feet of new eight-inch water main on S.E. 36th Street.

• Completed 6 of 13 water main connections.

• Installed three new fire hydrants (now in full service).

• Converted 90 percent of existing gravity supply lines to pump lines to increase water pressure.

• Completed 44 of 139 water service replacements.

During the last week of April, the contractor planned the following work:

• Cut and cap four-inch water main on 72nd Place S.E.

• Install new eight-inch water main on portions of 72nd Place S.E. (between S.E. 34th Street and S.E. 36th Street).

• Make three water main connections on S.E. 32nd Street at 72nd Avenue S.E. and 74th Avenue S.E.

• Continue water service replacements on S.E. 29th Street and 74th Avenue S.E.

Utilities Engineer Rona Lin reports that as of April 20, Alia’s work remains ahead of the proposed schedule. Additional information is available on the project webpage at

2013 King County sewer rates to increase

Nearly $2 million in new operating efficiencies will help keep the region’s wholesale sewer rate within budgetary projections, under a two-year rate proposal sent this week to the Metropolitan King County Council.

“Through continuous improvement and prudent management, this proposal would keep the rate three cents below projections, while paying for the needed wastewater facilities that protect our environment, support economic growth, and maintain our region’s high quality of life,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine.

Under the two-year proposal, the county’s monthly wholesale sewer rate for 2013 would be set at $39.85 per month through the end of 2014, an annual average increase of 5.2 percent over the current monthly rate of $36.10 adopted by the King Council in 2011.

The proposed rate for 2013-2014 is less than what was adopted in the 2012 county budget. The actual amount that ratepayers see on their monthly bills is set by the 34 cities and sewer districts that buy wastewater treatment services from the county.

Under the long-standing principle that “growth pays for growth,” the capacity charge for new sewer hookups is proposed to increase by 3 percent as planned to cover inflation, from $51.95 to $53.50 per month. The capacity charge on new customers will cover costs to expand the system and build new facilities needed to support population growth.

A large portion of the sewer rate proposal is devoted to repaying money borrowed over the past decade to fund some of the most complex projects since the utility was established in the 1950s, including the $1.8 billion Brightwater project. The proposed rate also sustains the county’s water-quality monitoring program and ensures that the region is well-positioned to address emerging threats to Puget Sound.

The county’s regional clean-water facilities serve more than 1.5 million people over a 420-square-mile area. The rate proposal would ensure that the county can continue to meet state and federal environmental standards while protecting its strong credit ratings that were reaffirmed last month by Moody’s Investor’s Services and Standard & Poor’s.

The King County Council is set to adopt the 2013-2014 sewer rate by the end of June.

For more, read the Ratepayer Report Newsletter from the King County Wastewater Treatment Division at

Future project

Improvements for the North Mercer and Enatai interceptor parallels (which connect the Mercer Island sewer line at the Island’s northeast corner) to the Eastside mainline and the Renton plant are set for 2013-2020.


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