SPU Water System Plan

Seattle Public Utilities circulated a draft of a water system plan and as a frequent user of the Tolt Pipeline Trail I felt a need to comment:

Joan Kersnar, Drinking Water Planning Manager
Seattle Public Utilities
P.O. Box 34018; Seattle, WA 98124-4018
(206) 684-0839 or joan.kersnar@seattle.gov

Comments on 2019 Water System Plan

Dear Ms. Kersnar:

Thank you for this opportunity to comment on the Seattle Public Utilities (“SPU”) Public Review Draft (the “Draft”) of the 2019 Water System Plan (the “Plan”.)

The SEPA check list indicates that “The existing uncovered in-town reservoirs are closed for public use. The Lake Youngs, Tolt, and Cedar River Reservoirs are also closed for public use and the draft 2017 SPU Watershed Protection Plan includes further information on regulations, policies, and program details for these areas. “  It is important that the Plan address restricted access to these areas in order for those restrictions to be perceived as other than arbitrary.

It is clear from the Draft that SPU has evaluated the risk of contamination and other relevant risks insofar as covered reservoirs and in-town facilities are concerned and that it has concluded that public access in most cases can be properly managed. It is important that the Plan indicate that this same level of analysis and hazard mitigation will also be applied to the watershed areas so that reasoned decisions can be made regarding permitted recreational uses.

The discussions regarding Kerriston Road which are found in several places in the Draft, suggest that known exceptions to the access restrictions occur and that the risk to public safety and to SPU assets is not sufficient to warrant urgent actions. If the existing level of unauthorized access can be tolerated the Plan should address legalizing and managing this and similar activity. (The Plan should address how SPU can bring its significant expertise with relevant physical security, signage, lighting and design features to bear on managing public access to limited portions of the watershed areas.)

More specifically, the Cedar River Trail (Milwaukee RR corridor) between Landsburg Park and Rattlesnake Lake is an “attractive nusiance” that represents a gap in the regional trail system inviting illicit access (as evidenced by these GPS tracks.)

The Plan should address:

1. How SPU rationalizes restricting access by the public (with manageable physical and sanitary security risks) while permitting hunting access for selected community groups (with arguably greater physical and sanitary risk.)

2. How SPU justifies granting on-going, unsupervised trail access to the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance if similar access on designated trails cannot be afforded to the greater bicycle community

3. How SPU arrives at the conclusion that land acquisition in the Kerriston Road enclave is an appropriate capital expenditure as opposed to pavement and fencing to manage limited access.

4. The process SPU would use to develop management plans to address limited access to this segment of the trail

Thank you for this opportunity to comment. I look forward to the final version of the Plan.


Jerry Scott