Lakehaven will expand sewer capacity in downtown FW

Lakehaven Utility District: Learn more at - Courtesy photo
Lakehaven Utility District: Learn more at
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Plans are under way to expand sewer capacity through downtown Federal Way in anticipation of future development.

Lakehaven Utility District is in the design phase of its Critical Capacity Project. The $6 million proposal will address growth in the city's business core.

The original main sewer pipe was built in the 1970s to satisfy population and business density at the time. In recent years, the city has explored options for large buildings downtown, notably a now-defunct proposal for skyscrapers. That's when Lakehaven began to address the limitations of its current sewer capacity.

So far, the project is in the design phase. Construction could start as early as this summer and conclude in three to five years, depending on availability of funding.

The project will replace the main sewer trunk, which currently measures 8 to 12 inches, with a new pipe that measures between 27 and 36 inches in diameter.

The new sewer line will start at the former AMC Theatres property near the Federal Way Transit Center. The line will then run south along 20th Avenue South, around the east side of The Commons Mall, and end at South 330th Street.

"That pipe will be there 70 to 100 years," said John Bowman, general manager of Lakehaven, of the new sewer line.

For now, the project's biggest obstacle is money. In 2012, the Legislature allocated $2.5 million toward the Lakehaven project, but must re-affirm $1.75 million of that money this year so that construction can begin.

On Tuesday, State Sen. Tracey Eide said the money would remain in the capital budget.

Lakehaven has applied for loans through the Public Works Trust Fund, which assists public infrastructure projects across the state. However, the fund faces serious cutbacks in Gov. Chris Gregoire's budget proposal.

Lakehaven hopes District 30 legislators can successfully lobby on behalf of projects on the trust fund's list, Bowman said. For this particular sewer project, Lakehaven seeks about $3.5 million in loans from the trust fund. The availability of that money will determine the project's timeline, and whether it will need to be done in pieces, depending on funding.

Bowman and district commissioner Ron Nowicki said city officials were instrumental in helping Lakehaven obtain grant money that got the proposal off the ground.

Lakehaven will help pay back the loan through fees charged to new businesses that connect to the new sewer pipe. Lakehaven will not raise rates for customers in the next two years, according to the district.

Learn more

• To see a list of loan requests through the Public Works Trust Fund, click here.

• To learn more about Federal Way's legislative agenda for 2013, which includes the Lakehaven sewer project, click here.

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