Letter: ‘At what cost to us?’


In 2018, the Navy spilled over 300,000 gallons of raw sewage into Puget Sound. Now they want to save $30 million by not upgrading their antiquated wastewater treatment system on Indian Island, a former Superfund site.

Instead, they want Jefferson County to treat their wastewater, and they promise to pay us. Commissioner David Sullivan said Indian Island also accepts “a huge bolus of waste from ships,” but that wasn’t mentioned in the Navy’s request to “hook up their pipes” to ours.

A single ship can generate many thousands of gallons of extra wastewater per day, according to the Navy’s estimates.

Why was this omitted?

Commissioner Greg Brotherton indicated he’d welcome the Navy’s money.

At what cost to us?

Will the BOCC research who’d be liable for future spills if we let the Navy hook up their system to ours?

Who pays for cleanup?

Who reimburses for and restores lost fisheries and recreational use?

Who would pay to rebuild their aging pipes?

What kinds of toxic contaminants from a weapons facility that was recently taken off the government’s most toxic places registry might enter our own wastewater treatment system?

How will this be incorporated in stormwater management plans?

What will this cost taxpayers?

Commissioners say negotiations are in the “talking phase.” The Navy has publicly said it wants civilian communities to pay for “grid upgrades” on military bases. So, we hook up an ex-Superfund site and also service their ships, and they pay us for a short time, then stop, because as we’ve seen with Growler noise, they don’t keep promises. And then we taxpayers are on the hook, in perpetuity.

Too many unanswered questions suggest it’s a bad idea. Please urge County Commissioners to say No.

Navy money in the short run will cost all of us plenty.

Connie Gallant


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