Suquamish Tribe Reaches Historic Settlement with King County to Prevent Future Seattle Sewage Spills

The Suquamish Tribe and King County, Washington have approved a settlement agreement resolving disputes over the unpermitted discharge of millions of gallons of untreated or improperly treated sewage over several years from the West Point Wastewater Treatment Plant and other sewage treatment facilities in Seattle.  The sewage spills had repeatedly contaminated the waters of Puget Sound, preventing Tribal citizens from exercising their right to harvest shellfish under the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliot, and interfering with cultural activities such as the annual Canoe Journey.  Kanji & Katzen, P.L.L.C., on behalf of the Suquamish Tribe, notified King County of its intent to sue in 2020 and 2021 for numerous violations of the Clean Water Act.  Under the settlement, the County will pay the Tribe $2.5 million for harm caused by the spills, will invest $2.4 million in environmental protection and habitat restoration projects, and will comply with an enforceable schedule to complete wastewater treatment infrastructure upgrades to reduce the risk of future untreated sewage discharges.  Kanji & Katzen congratulates the Tribe on this historic achievement for the benefit of everyone who treasures Puget Sound.  The Tribe’s press release regarding the settlement and interview with Leonard Forsman, Chairman of the Suquamish Tribe, and Tom Ostrom, the Tribe’s Ecosystem Program Recovery Manager, can be found in the links below.