In 2005, Seattle’s Markey Machinery applied for a paving permit to solve a troublesome street drainage problem near their manufacturing facility on 8th Ave S., near the Duwamish River in Georgetown. Markey soon discovered that the Georgetown Community Council and the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition had also been working on the same swath of road, with the intent of creating a family friendly path along part of 8th Ave S.
These three groups immediately saw an opportunity to collaborate and find a way to manage rain runoff along 8th Ave. S. in a way that worked for business and the community. But further complicating matters was the Markey facility’s proximity to the polluted Duwamish River. To address environmental concerns, the Georgetown Group engaged graduate students and landscape engineers to develop a natural “bio-swale” rain water retention plan, rather than simply draining runoff into the sewer.
“Bio-swale” design in hand, the Georgetown Group then solicited support from a number of City Departments—including Transportation, Public Utilities and Economic Development— asking each if there was a way for the bio-swale concept to be applied to an industrial setting so close to a Superfund targeted river.
The Office of Economic Development’s Kris Effertz convened all of the involved parties to work through these issues, taking advantage of all possible resources and funding to enable a successful outcome for Markey and for the community. The City found a way to match their drainage regulations with the 8th Ave S. proposed solution, utilizing both Neighborhood Street Funds and community volunteers. On December 5, 2009, the Markey Machinery “natural drainage swales” were completed—an innovative and eco-friendly solution that satisfied the business community, local residents, and environmentalists.
**Originally reported by Seattle Industry**