Lake Washington School District, Union HIll Water Association agree to 'landmark' agreement
October 19, 2011 · 3:03 PM
Lake Washington School District (LWSD) and the Union Hill Water Association (UHWA) signed last week a "landmark" agreement that will protect water quality and the environment.
The association issued a certificate of water availability that will allow LWSD to continue in its process of gaining approval for its new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) High School to be built on a 22-acre site east of Redmond and on the water association's aquifer.
The agreement allows LWSD to construct a monitoring and early warning system consisting of strategically placed monitoring wells and sampling stations to provide detection of potential contaminants before they enter critical recharge and aquifer areas. This will be part of an ongoing cooperative monitoring program maintained by both the school district and Union Hill Water Association.
LWSD also agreed to make the site a "pesticide and herbicide-free zone." Two-thirds of the 22-acre site will remain in a natural state with native foliage and ground covers providing protection to the aquifer.
There will be no expansion on the site or additional development with the exception ofcounty-mandated improvements approved by both LWSD board of directors and the UHWA board of trustees.An enhanced treatment system will be built by the district using some of the nation's most advanced technology in the treatment of run-off water without chemicals. The system will be comprised of a series of vaults and filters combining the use of high technology and natural materials.
This agreement comes after nine months of negotiations, studies, and public hearings. Some of the top environmental and engineering experts in the region worked in consulting with both LWSD and UHWA.
"This has truly been a partnership in the protection of a community resource, our drinking water," said Frank Parchman, president of the UHWA board of trustees. "It is landmark in the protection of water quality that benefits all of us. It is a testament to what government and representatives can and should do in providing for the common good."
Marianne Spencer, one of the leaders of the neighborhood groups negotiating mitigation for impacts from the school, and who has no direct ties to the LWSD and UHWA, called the agreement "amazing … This set of agreements arguably represents the most comprehensive water protection for any school project in the state."