Cascade Water Alliance outlines long-term regional water supply

January 3, 2012

Cascade Water Alliance leaders outlined a plan Dec. 30 to secure water for Issaquah and the region in the decades ahead.

The nonprofit organization purchases water from Seattle Public Utilities, but the water bought from the utility is due to start declining in 2024 as the Cascade Water Alliance switches to other sources. Then, in 2030, officials plan to start drawing water as needed from Lake Tapps in Pierce County.

The information is contained in the transmission and supply plan — a document outlining the water systems in alliance member jurisdictions and plans for the future. Residents can also weigh in, as the plan is open for public comment until Jan. 31.

The regional alliance includes the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District, Issaquah and Bellevue, plus other Eastside and South King County cities and water districts. The agency serves about 400,000 residents and 22,000 businesses.

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Issaquah residents urged to prepare amid King County flood watch

November 21, 2011

NEW — 5 p.m. Nov. 21, 2011

King County is under a flood watch as a precipitation-laden system barrels into Western Washington, and Issaquah residents should prepare for localized flooding as rain and wind pelt the area.

The flood watch is in effect until through late Wednesday night. Expect 2 to 4 inches of rainfall Monday night and Tuesday as the snow level rises to about 6,000 feet, and then another 1 to 3 inches Tuesday night and Wednesday as the snow level gradually dips to about 3,000 feet.

National Weather Service meteorologists in Seattle said any flooding related to the system is expected to be minor.

In addition, a wind advisory is in effect through noon Tuesday.

Bret Heath, city Public Works Operations and emergency management director, said leaves dislodged from trees by rain and wind could also clog storm drains and lead to flooding along city streets.

Issaquah Creek flooding is not expected to pose a major problem in the days ahead.

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Salmon in the Classroom reaches crossroads

March 29, 2011

Clark Elementary School students (from left) Callie Mejia, 10, Hannah Halstead, 10, Jackson Rubin, 10, and Caelan Varner, 11, take turns feeding the coho salmon fry growing in the science room aquarium. By Greg Farrar

Questions remain about start-up costs, permits

For a Clark Elementary School class, raising coho salmon from eggs no larger than a BB pellet to miniscule fish is part lesson, part ritual.

Students traipse down the hallway from class to the aquarium in a science room in the morning, again at lunchtime and before the last bell rings in the afternoon. Using a small spatula, students scoop salmon food — a coarse substance similar to dirt in color and texture — into the aquarium.

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Forecasters issue flood watch as rain continues to fall

January 15, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Jan. 15, 2011

National Weather Service meteorologists urged residents to prepare for possible flooding as rain-sodden conditions continue throughout the region Saturday.

Forecasters in Seattle issued a flood watch through Monday afternoon for most Western Washington counties. The latest moisture-laden system could drop 3 to 6 inches of rain.

Precipitation — more rainfall and a brief-but-intense snowstorm — saturated the ground throughout from Tuesday onward.

Issaquah emergency planners reminded residents to keep storm drains near homes clear of fallen leaves and other debris. Call the city Public Works Operations Department at 837-3470 to address larger storm water issues.

Residents can receive real-time Issaquah Creek flood data from a flood gauge in Hobart. Planners use the gauge to determine the city’s flood phases.

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Flooding risk dimishes, but landslide threat remains

December 13, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. Dec. 13, 2010

Issaquah Creek has crested and the flood watch has been lifted for the region, but National Weather Service forecasters said the landslide risk should linger in the days ahead.

Runoff from the heavy rainfall could also trigger landslides and debris flows. The saturated soil means reduced stability and a greater chance of landslides.

Cumulative rainfall during the last three weeks has soaked the ground beyond the U.S. Geological Survey threshold for landslides. The risk should diminish in the days ahead.

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Forecasters issue flood warning as Issaquah Creek rises

December 12, 2010

NEW — 11 a.m. Dec. 12, 2010

National Weather Service forecasters in Seattle issued a flood warning for Issaquah and other King County communities as heavy rain continued to saturate the region for a second day.

Forecasters issued the warning as Issaquah Creek neared flood stage and residents reported street flooding in Montreux and other Issaquah neighborhoods.

The flood warning is in effect until 9 p.m. Sunday. The warning means flooding is imminent or has been reported.

Western Washington lowlands had received 1 to 3 inches of rain by 9 a.m. Sunday. Forecasters expect another 0.5 to 1.5 inches to fall throughout the region.

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Recycle post-feast grease for free — and prevent clogged pipes

November 26, 2010

NEW — 8 a.m. Nov. 26, 2010

Turn Thanksgiving post-feast grease into biodiesel — and help prevent a hazard in local sewer systems.

King County has joined General Biodiesel to offer disposal locations for free and eco-friendly option to dump cooking fats and grease through Dec. 31.

The closest 24/7 disposal site to Issaquah is the Sammamish Safeway, 630 228th Ave. N.E. Find a complete list of disposal sites here.

The announcement came as Issaquah officials consider a plan to cut on the amount of food grease running down restaurant drains and into the municipal sewer system.

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Protect pipes from freezing before bitter cold arrives

November 20, 2010

NEW — 8 a.m. Nov. 20, 2010

With freezing temperatures forecast for Thanksgiving week in Western Washington, residents should take steps ASAP to protect pipes from freezing.

National Weather Service forecasters said cold air moving into the state in the days ahead could bring a chance of snow at lower elevations. Temperatures in the region could drop into the 20s and 30s into early next week.

The cost of a frozen and broken pipe can be more than just the cost of a plumber. Residents might be forced to go without water until the leak is repaired. If no one is home as the pipe thaws, flooding and property damage could lead to sizable repair costs and inconvenience.

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Planning for worst-case scenario is business as usual for emergency director

November 2, 2010

King County faces risks from earthquakes, floods, terrorism, volcanic eruptions and more than a dozen other threats.

For Hillman Mitchell, director of the King County Office of Emergency Management, planning for a worst-case scenario is business as usual. The longtime emergency planner and Sammamish resident settled into the role Aug. 3 after a stint as the emergency management coordinator in Tukwila.

Mitchell served in the South King County city as the region braced for a destructive Green River flood exacerbated by the storm-damaged Howard Hanson Dam. Though the flood did not occur, the effort — and a candid assessment of potential damage across the region — earned Mitchell respect from leaders in other cities.

“Obviously, the Green River planning activity really brought together a lot of those collaborative and cooperative opportunities to look at how we respond, not just from a city’s perspective, but as we respond to disasters that don’t respect political boundaries,” he said.

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Recycling carpets is good for environment

October 19, 2010

Recycling carpet can be a Sisyphean task. Part fuzz, part glue and part plastic, most people throw it away, explaining why every year about 50,000 tons of carpet ends up in the King County landfill.

“It’s a tremendous amount of valuable resources that goes to waste,” King County Solid Waste Division Program Manager Kris Beatty said.

Carpet can be ground up and then used as an oil absorbent, or its materials can be separated and then sold back to carpet manufacturers or other companies, like toy makers.

Long’s Floors in Issaquah (above) recycled more than six tons of carpet from August to September by working with Benchmark Recycling hauling company and Recycle 1, of Tacoma. By Bill Johnson

Jeff Long, co-owner of Long’s Floors in Issaquah and a recycling advocate, said he looked for years for a way to recycle the tons of carpet his company removes from houses.

He recycles so much, he can often be found rooting through his company’s dumpster, looking for cardboard, plastics or electronics that can be recycled instead of routed to the landfill.

For the past eight years, he has recycled urethane carpet cushions, the padding that goes underneath carpets, but he could never find a way to recycle the carpet itself.

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