Cleaner drinking water on tap for Federal Way

Federal Way residents will eventually see cleaner water flowing from their faucets.

In March, the Tacoma Public Utilities Board voted to build a filtration station on the Green River. Starting in 2014, utility districts must comply with a federal mandate that removes a parasite called cryptosporidium, which causes diarrhea, from all drinking water.

The first phase of construction will start in spring 2012, with completion slated for mid-2014. Total cost to build the filtration station is estimated between $180 million and $240 million.

Tacoma Water currently relies on an unfiltered water supply, with most of its water coming from the Green River. Filtration is expected to reduce silt and sand in the pipe system along with the byproducts of disinfecting the water, said Chris McMeen, water quality manager for Tacoma Water.

Lakehaven Utility District, which serves the Federal Way area, has taken on 11 percent ownership of the project, said general manager Don Perry. The City of Kent and Covington Water District are sharing a similar cost burden.

Lakehaven's funding comes from rates and connection charges as well as federal and state loans. A bond payment already in place from a previous pipeline construction will finance Lakehaven's share of the filtration project. Lakehaven customers will likely not see additional rate increases, Perry said.

"With my fingers crossed and not having a bid in my hand, there should be no change in the rates the board has voted on for 2011 and 2012," Perry said.

The finished project will result in a more predictable and cleaner water supply with 24/7 access throughout the year.

"It's a way of securing our water supplies for the next 50 years," said Ron Nowicki, Lakehaven board commissioner.

Learn more

Click here to learn more about Tacoma Water's decision.

Also check out a Tacoma News Tribune report on the Tacoma Utility Board decision.

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