Seattle Public Utilities send residents survey on roadside rain garden project

In order to better engage the community about Phase II of a work-in-progress road-side rain garden project -- meant to mitigate combined sewer overflow -- Seattle Public Utilities is sending out a survey to Ballard residents to gather feedback.

The survey, which most should have received by Saturday, Dec. 22, was sent out via U.S. Mail to about 4,000 Ballard residents -- which includes nearly all households connected to the combined sewer system. The coverage area is between 16th Ave NW and 30th Ave NW, and NW 65th St and NW 85th St.

So SPU can present the results of the survey along with a soils analysis at the Feb. 12 project open house -- to be held at the Sunset Hill Community Club -- SPU is asking residents to submit their responses by Jan. 7.

For residents’ convenience, they can also take the survey online at

Water pollution has become a particular problem in Ballard as rainwater will drain into a combined sewer system -- meaning when any significant rain event happens, the sewers will overflow and dump water into Salmon Bay. Last year there were 73 combined sewer overflows, more than one per week, which dumped 43 million gallons of pollution into Salmon Bay, according to SPU.

Also according to SPU, a typical single-family home generates nearly 51,000 gallons of storm water runoff each year on average.
SPU says they are asking residents two kinds of questions: “Experiences with drainage on and around their property,” and “Preferences and needs related to their neighborhood and project communications.”

Rain gardens are just one method of diverting rain water so it doesn't cause pollution in the Puget Sound, though they have been a subject of controversy among some Ballard residents after Phase I had some less than satisfactory initial results. SPU, through this survey and community meetings, hopes to better work and communicate with the community this time around.

Representatives have expressed confidence to the Ballard News-Tribune that the roadside rain garden project will work better this time around.

For further updates, check SPU’s Ballard CSO project website at Survey results will be posted on the website as soon as possible after the open house.

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