The debate is contentious. The Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District says Issaquah wants to inject contaminated water into an area where fecal coliform can infiltrate into an aquifer that provides up to 50% of the drinking water for the District, which serves 54,000 residents in Issaquah (including part of the Issaquah Highlands, all of Providence Point and Overdale), all of Klahanie and other parts of unincorporated King County and roughly three quarters of Sammamish.
Issaquah officials charge the Water District is resorting to scare tactics and its real “agenda” is “self-preservation” and to block the potential annexation by Issaquah of Klahanie. What’s noteworthy of Mayor Ava Frisinger’s approach on this is that by making allegations that the District has an “agenda” and personally attacking the president of the District, she’s avoiding the issues and the City is repeating tactics from 2008 when the Washington Department of Ecology forced (repeat, forced) Issaquah to shut down the so-called LRIG (Lower Reid Infiltration Gallery) in the first place.
Then, according to the press report at the time, Issaquah told Ecology:
They stated that the DOE relied on information supplied by the Sammamish Plateau Water & Sewer District, and said it was “riddled with factual errors,” and contains “inflammatory, incorrect and prejudicial statements masquerading as science and technical analysis.” They also call the monitoring program required by the DOE order “extensive, expensive, excessive, unreasonable and arbitrary.
Frisinger and her administration are following the same line of attack today.
Fortunately, you can see for yourself. Issaquah and the Water District each made presentations to the Sammamish City Council on the issue. Sammamish is trying to sort out facts and has heard from both sides. Issaquah heard the presentation from its own consultant, who also presented to Sammamish, but has so far not wanted to hear from the Water District. It’s clear Issaquah doesn’t give a damn about public opinion or scientific questions over the dispute and it’s equally clear it doesn’t want to hear from the Water District, which is why the District felt compelled to “go public” in the first place.
But you can watch the following videos:
Issaquah Presentation to Issaquah City Council (this was the same presentation given to the Sammamish City Council the same evening). This is 31 minutes.
Water District Presentation to Sammamish City Council on June 4. (Issaquah hasn’t invited the Water District to present to the City Council). Advance to 46:30 minutes for the hour-long presentation.
I think you will find a great deal of useful information that you can compare about who is more factual and more complete.
With respect to the allegation of “self-preservation,” Issaquah is attempting a hostile takeover of a small portion of the District that includes three wells (the ones using the aquifer at risk) in such a way that will dismember the infrastructure to the detriment of Sammamish residents, and those in unincorporated King County. 93% of the District lies outside Issaquah (using Issaquah’s own number) and Issaquah refuses to talk with the District or Sammamish in a way to resolve these issues and concerns. Instead, officials have made it clear that they are only interested in themselves, no matter the consequences to anyone else.
The threat to the water quality is why the Water District is putting up such a fight.
Well, the problem for me is that Tom Harman, in my opinion, and the Sammamish Water District by association, cannot be trusted to speak the truth either. My experience with Tom Harman harkens back to his opposition to annexation to Issaquah based on what I then judged to be misleading and false statements regarding the financial realities of the proposed annexation . I have come to believe that Mr. Harman’s agenda was then, and is now, indeed an act of self preservation and have no reason to question the veracity of that charge not only as regards Mr. Harman but also as regards the water district.
As regards the City of Issaquah, I was saddened by their short-sighted refusal to annex their Klahanie Planned Annexation Area as a result of the last annexation vote. I have always felt that annexation to either Issaquah or Sammamish would be a favorable outcome for the Klahanie PAA; the sooner (to either) the better. The shortest route (on paper) is into Issaquah, but bitter political rivals have continuously thwarted that outcome even after a majority vote said YES to annexation to Issaquah in the last election. It does not give me any pleasure or satisfaction whatsoever to witness Issaquah’s belated attempts to exploit the water resources under our feet after all these years of ignoring the legitimate other concerns of the Klahanie PAA.
Whatever the problem is, they should speak the truth to make the city more improve and have a proper water system.