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City, Ecology Sign Stormwater Agreement

Sharing a common goal to protect Issaquah’s aquifer, the City of Issaquah and Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) have signed an agreement under which the city will monitor stormwater runoff from a portion of the Issaquah Highlands. The City and Ecology jointly developed a monitoring plan that focuses on Issaquah’s Lower Reid Infiltration Gallery (LRIG), which is an underground system that helps recharge the aquifer beneath Issaquah, as well as minimize flooding impacts on the North Fork of Issaquah Creek. The LRIG has received treated stormwater runoff from a portion of the Issaquah Highlands since 2002. Under the agreement, the City will monitor water quality of the stormwater and the surrounding aquifer for two wet seasons and provide the data to Ecology. The City and Ecology earlier agreed to suspend stormwater discharges to the LRIG while they developed the monitoring plan. Ecology will use the monitoring data to determine whether LRIG infiltration can resume. Issaquah believes the stormwater recharge was a benefit, and did not pose any threat to the aquifer. Since 2008, however, Issaquah has worked with Ecology officials to create an agreed-upon plan moving forward. “Thanks to our discussions with Ecology officials, they now have a better understanding of our stormwater system, which resulted in a reasonable monitoring program for the City,” said Issaquah Mayor Ava Frisinger. “While we still may have differing opinions, we both agree on the benefits of replacing aquifer recharge. Our agreed-upon plan was the best option for both parties and the aquifer.”
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