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Keeping sewage out of Puget Sound

It's a dirty topic with a refined name: Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs). When heavy rains exceed the capacity of Seattle's century-old drainage system, raw sewage gets dumped into our rivers, lakes and Puget Sound.

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is developing a Long-Term Control Plan for limiting CSOs to no more than one outfall per year.

SPU is holding a series of public meeting on the plan. The first one is tonight at 6 p.m. at the Montlake Community Center.

The problem

According to SPU, CSOs occur an average of 318 times per year during wet weather. In 2010, approximately 190 million gallons of untreated raw sewage and stormwater discharged at 47 of the 90 CSO outfalls managed by the utility. 

SPU is holding public meetings on the plan Oct. 11, 17, 18, 19 and 20. These scoping meetings help determine the range or scope of issues to be considered during the project's environmental review process. At the meetings, you can:

  • Learn about the environmental review process for the long-range plan and how to get involved
  • Provide input on projects that may be included in the long-range plan
  • Identify potential issues and concerns for Seattle Public Utilities to study in the Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement 
  • Provide comments that Seattle Public Utilities staff will review and incorporate in the formal record

You can register for the meetings at The meetings are at the following locations:

Montlake / University District Neighborhoods

Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011
6:00 p.m.  – 8:00 p.m.
Montlake Community Center
1618 E Calhoun Street, Seattle

Delridge / Duwamish Neighborhoods

Monday, Oct. 17, 2011
6:30 p.m.  – 8:30 p.m.
Youngstown Cultural Center
4408 Delridge Way SW, Seattle

Ship Canal Neighborhoods

Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011
5:30 p.m.  – 7:30 p.m.
Ballard Public Library
5614 22nd Avenue NW, Seattle

Downtown Neighborhoods

Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011
4:30 p.m.  – 6:30 p.m.
Seattle City Hall – Bertha Knight Landes Room
600 4th Ave, Seattle

Online Meeting, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. For more information, go to

Dave Meyer has been anchoring KNKX news shows since 1987. He grew up along the shores of Hood Canal near Belfair and graduated from Washington State University with degrees in communications and psychology.