In these uncertain times, there's two things Seattle can always count on: There is rain somewhere in the forecast, and everybody poops.
That's especially true in Ballard, Fremont, Wallingford, and Queen Anne, where 75 millions of gallons of rainwater mixed with local poop wind up in the ship canal every year. The sewers just aren't big enough to handle all that wastewater, so it overflows several times a year, and yes it is super, super, super gross.
But not for much longer! Seattle's about to start building a gigantic underground holding tunnel that will extend beneath multiple neighborhoods, a sort of waiting room for our local sewage treatment plants so the water doesn't get backed up and overflow anymore. And the Environmental Protection Agency would like you to know that construction is happening thanks to Donald Trump.
Seattle's Ship Canal Water Quality Project just got a loan of nearly $200 million for the wastewater project. It's coming to us because of a program made possible through the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) of 2014.
"Through WIFIA, EPA is delivering on President Trump’s commitment to upgrade our nation’s infrastructure, create jobs, and safeguard public health and the environment,” reads an EPA press release announcing the funding.
I have to admit that I personally have some mixed feelings about this project now. On one hand, it's very nice that raw sewage will no longer spill into our local waterways. On the other hand, I hate the idea of Donald Trump bragging that he's made Ballard better.
But hold on. Wasn't WIFIA passed in 2014? So it's actually an Obama-era program? Yes, in fact; and the guidance for the program was completed in 2016, before Trump was in office. So of course, this is just another example of Trump taking credit — or at least, some sycophant giving him credit — for something he had absolutely nothing to do with.
In other words, you can still say "thanks, Obama" when you see nice clean water in the Ship Canal. Trump, you will be shocked to hear, proposed massive cuts to the EPA for next year, including cuts to the WIFIA program.
Construction has already begun in Ballard, with preliminary work scheduled to start this month in Fremont, Queen Anne, and soon Wallingford. We've reached out to the city to see if the quarantine will affect project timelines.
But even with the loan from the EPA, the construction process will be slow — the tunnel isn't slated to start eagerly collecting your waste until 2025. So if you really care about the environment, you'll need to refrain from using the bathroom for the next five years.