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King County gets $500M loan from EPA to update wastewater treatment in era of climate change

Mar 28, 2024


Solar panels sit atop the newest building at King County’s West Point Treatment Plant in Discovery Park. Inside, you won’t find pipes funneling the region’s sewage and stormwater; instead stand rows of newly installed high-voltage batteries intended to keep the pumps pumping during storms — and contaminated water out of Puget Sound.

These batteries are part of ongoing efforts to improve wastewater treatment here and prepare for storms, which are likely to become more frequent or more intense with human-induced climate change. The county plans to invest $10 billion in these projects over the next decade.

The plans got a huge boost Thursday when King County and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the first installment of a nearly $500 million loan package from the agency that will finance 14 wastewater infrastructure projects across the county. It’s the largest financial commitment to the county’s wastewater system from the EPA, and the initial installment is expected to save sewer utility ratepayers $19.8 million.

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