Water district offers solution for Overdale Park

December 14, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

Questions about a future water supply for the Overdale Park neighborhood could be answered soon.

Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District leaders took the initial step Dec. 6 to annex the North Issaquah neighborhood into the regional water system.

Concerns about contaminated drinking water and inadequate fire protection prompted Overdale residents to petition the district for annexation.

The annexation proposal heads to the King County Boundary Review Board and the King County Council. The boards must approve the annexation.

The district serves about 16,300 water customers and 10,100 sewer customers in parts of Issaquah, Sammamish and unincorporated King County. The district surrounds Overdale on all sides.

Customers elect a board to direct budget and policy decisions for the 62-year-old district.

District Planning Engineer Jay Regenstreif said the process could be completed by early spring if county officials agree to the proposed change.

Overdale residents requested annexation after tests turned up arsenic in a neighborhood well and inadequate water pressure left some neighborhood fire hydrants useless.

The neighborhood water association has operated a private water system since the 1950s. Overdale residents turned to the Sammamish district for service in 2005, after arsenic contamination left a neighborhood well near East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast unusable. The neighborhood well could no longer meet residents’ demand for water.

The neighborhood system supplied water to about 140 households. Overdale residents paid about $30,000 per year to the Sammamish district for water.

Federal Environmental Protection Agency regulations for arsenic in drinking water allow 10 parts per billion. The arsenic level in the contaminated Overdale well exceeded 11 parts per billion. The poisonous element occurs naturally in the ground near the well.

Overdale residents also faced a heightened risk from fires. Engineers discovered some fire hydrants in Overdale lacked the pressure to fight blazes.

If a fire had occurred in the neighborhood, pressure could have dropped to unacceptable levels for firefighting in minutes — and left homes unprotected from fire.

Eastside Fire & Rescue learned about the problem this spring, as the Sammamish district conducted tests in preparation for annexation. The agency has since added a water tender — or tanker — to the fire response plan for the neighborhood.

The district plans to upgrade the Overdale water system to correct the fire hydrant flow problem.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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