ISSAQUAH, Wash. -- Plans by the City of Issaquah to flush its storm water runoff into an underground aquifer have a neighboring water district fighting mad.

The City of Issaquah and the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District (SPW&S) have been at it for years. They have been at odds over several water issues on the rapidly growing plateau, but the storm water matter is boiling over.

SPW&S said Issaquah s plan could inject a clean, dependable aquifer with street grime containing fecal matter from animals, toxic heavy metals from vehicles and chemicals from yard and garden products. Storm water runoff has been identified as the most serious threat to Puget Sound water quality.

Issaquah officials said storm water infiltration is a common and accepted technique which uses the earth s natural filtering abilities to cleanse storm water and keep it from causing floods in area creeks. Issaquah s mayor said they also drink from that aquifer and would do nothing to endanger it.

State Department of Ecology officials said they are considering a permit for the plan and if they issue it would be the first such plan approved in the state. Spokesman Larry Altose said two years of monitoring Issaquah s runoff show the filtration system could work safely.
A final decision is expected this month, but Altose said it could be delayed.

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