Scientists question state plan that doubles sewer bills at Puget Sound treatment plants

Eric Burris, manager of Bremerton's wastewater treatment plant gives a tour of the plant on Jan. 14. A new requirement by the state Department of Ecology would require municipal plants to better treat sewage to reduce nitrogen going into Puget Sound.

BREMERTON — Sewer bills could double by the end of the decade under a state plan that will require billions of dollars to construct new systems at wastewater treatment plants that discharge into Puget Sound. 

Officials at the state’s Department of Ecology say it’s time to require the plants, including those on the Kitsap Peninsula, to remove nitrogen that comes from urine. They believe the nitrogen could lead to “dead zones” of little to no dissolved oxygen in the water, which is harmful to sea life.  

“Puget Sound communities rely on a healthy ecosystem,” Vince McGowan, the department’s water quality program manager, said in a blog last year. “We need strong salmon runs and thriving orca pods. Without this (program), we’ll be on a fast track to dead zones.” 






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