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Edmonds SD says it dotted all the I’s with water system

(KIRO 7)

An Edmonds School District spokesperson says that the district followed all federal laws when setting up the stormwater drainage system for its brand-new Madrona K-8 school. But students won’t be attending the school anyway because of that same drainage system.

Kelly Franson, communication specialist for the district, told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson that the school’s designers went “very carefully over our program to make sure we weren’t missing something” after hearing the Olympic Water and Sewer District’s concerns.

RELATED: Brand-new school remains empty due to water dispute

Because of a dispute over the water system, rather than moving into their new school, Madrona students will have to start the 2018-2019 school year at the former Alderwood Middle School in Lynnwood, about 15 minutes away. The Olympic View Water and Sewer District has said that it will not hook Madrona up to its system for fear that the school’s drainage system will pollute Olympic’s aquifer.

“They want to be sure that they’re protecting their water source, which I fully understand … we’re not trying to get around that,” Franson said.

The school is slated to house multi-age classrooms and the district’s deaf and hard-of-hearing program. It was built with an environmental conscience, Franson explained.

“The new school, the brand-new building, was designed specifically for Madrona’s needs; that included a commitment to the environment, both above and below the ground,” she said. “The community there is very involved in the environment.”

This environmental commitment included a stormwater well system; Franson said that similar systems are used in Redmond, as well as at Edmonds School District’s Lynndale Elementary in Lynnwood.

“We were excited to have the opportunity to use stormwater wells at Madrona because they actually replenish the acquifer with filtered water,” Franson said.

According to Franson, the runoff stormwater goes through bio-filtration system before entering the well. This includes an an oil and water separator, an impermeable layer of soil, and 50 feet of dry sand that acts as a filter.

Olympic Water and Sewer told Dori that it requests that the school district conducts eight tests (each in the $500 to $600 range) and installs two additional monitoring wells costing roughly $50,000 to $60,000 each.

“They don’t like our monitoring plan for how we’re testing the water that goes into these wells,” Franson said.

Franson said that the school district is actually testing for more contaminants than the Washington State Department of Ecology requires, and for three years longer than the department’s required two years of testing.

She said that the district has all along been working with both the City of Edmonds and the Department of Ecology, and has gone through SEPA.

For now, Franson said that it costs less to bus all the students to Alderwood.

“It costs less for us to temporarily move the students than to try to keep them in the old building and further delay construction, the construction that has to happen after that building comes down,” she said.

She added that the school district remains committed to finding a fast and safe solution to the dispute.

“We do want to make sure we’re not missing anything, we want to make sure that this is correct, and that we can get it done as quickly as possible,” Franson said.

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