Suquamish Tribe announces plan to sue King County over sewage spills into Puget Sound

KING COUNTY, Wash. — The Suquamish Tribe announced Wednesday its plan to sue King County for releasing untreated sewage into the Puget Sound, according to allegations listed in a press release.

The letter gives officials 60 days notice of the tribe’s intent to file the lawsuit, which alleges ongoing violations of the Clean Water Act and the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit.

“The waters of Puget Sound and the entire Salish Sea are the Tribe’s most treasured resource. We are obliged to protect these waters, not only for ourselves but for all who rely on them for healthy seafood, recreation, and cultural practices,” said Suquamish Tribal Chairman Leonard Forsman.

The release says that public records show that King County discharged hundreds of thousands of gallons of untreated sewage from the West Point Wastewater Treatment Plan in 2018 and 2019.

“King County’s discharges, which are unlawful under the Clean Water Act, foul the water and habitat for aquatic species and result in the posting of health advisories and closure of beaches where Suquamish tribal members harvest shellfish,” the release reads.

The letter claims that King County is responsible for at least 11 “significant illegal discharges” of untreated sewage into treaty-protected fishing areas.

“This is why the Clean Water Act was created. It’s time for King County to increase their commitment to protecting our shared waters,” said Chairman Forsman.