The Washington State Department of Ecology is currently considering a permit that would allow the City of Issaquah to use an underground system to return stormwater to the Lower Issaquah Valley Aquifer.
The aquifer is a vital source of drinking water for the citizens of Issaquah and Sammamish.
“We all drink from the same glass, the citizens of Issaquah and Sammamish,” Issaquah Mayor Ava Frisinger said. “The City of Issaquah has always prided itself on providing quality water, and we have a long track record of protecting our aquifer.”
The underground system, called the Lower Reid Infiltration Gallery, also helps to minimize flooding impacts on the North Fork of Issaquah Creek and ensures that wetlands receive the water they need to survive.
In 2009, the City of Issaquah and Department of Ecology reached an agreement to monitor stormwater in the gallery. That monitoring showed that the water, under certain conditions, can be discharged into the ground.
The City of Issaquah then applied for the ecology permit.
Currently, the Washington State Department of Ecology is reviewing the data associated with the permit application. If the department issues a draft permit, the draft would be available for public comment and review.
Infiltrating stormwater into the ground is a major requirement under the latest federal standards for addressing environmental pollution.