The Budd Inlet Treatment Plant in Olympia operated by LOTT discharges the equivalent of 17 Olympic size swimming pools of water a day into Puget Sound, according to Laurie Pierce of the LOTT Clean Water Alliance. It’s nitrogen contribution to the Sound is equal to that of the Deschutes river watershed. In 1992 an upgrade to the plant significantly reduced nitrogen levels in the plant’s discharge. Without that improvement the wastewater from the Thurston County area would be having a much greater impact on nitrogen levels in the South Sound.
The new focus for reduction of nitrogen loading and impacts of wastewater on Budd Inlet and the South Sound is the movement towards decentralized treatment facilities that are focused on where the growth is happening in Thurston County – Lacey/Hawks Prairie, Tumwater, and Chambers Prairie. At each of these decentralized locations the goal is to reclaim water for reuse and for recharge of the aquifer instead of discharging to Puget Sound. LOTT is also working with the Squaxin Tribe and others to identify and implement projects to address non point sources of nitrogen to the Deschutes River to help reduce the overal nitrogen contribution to Budd Inlet and the South Sound.