Brightwater News April 2024 – Alpha Hill project update, birding at Brightwater, and more!

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Springing into a sunnier season

April 2024

Throughout the year, King County’s Wastewater Treatment Division (WTD) sends emails to share information about the Brightwater Treatment Plant and surrounding public access areas. This spring, there are many ways to explore Brightwater and learn about King County’s regional wastewater system. The drier months in spring and summer are a wonderful time to visit the trails. They are also a good time for us to maintain our facilities and carry out projects inside and outside the plant. Read on to learn about one of these projects and how you can explore Brightwater!  

If you know others who are interested in learning more, share this newsletter with them and encourage them to sign up for these emailsVisit Brightwater’s Public Engagement web page to read past emails, newsletters, and blog stories.

Landscape protection project on Alpha Hill to start in May

This spring, visitors to the Brightwater trails area will see changes at Alpha Hill, a large landform that towers over the south trails area. These changes are needed to control erosion and protect water quality in nearby salmon-bearing streams. King County’s contractor will build a landscape buffer, fencing, and rock wall. Adding vegetation will help soften the appearance of the hill while filtering runoff into Little Bear Creek, providing wildlife habitat, and improving drought tolerance.

Construction is expected to begin in mid-May and last up to three months. To maintain safety for trail users and crews, King County’s contractor needs to temporarily close a section of trail in the south trails area. Please stay on open trails to protect the surrounding landscape. As a result of this project, Alpha Hill will be permanently closed for public access. This is to prevent sediment from running into local streams, which can harm salmon and water quality.

After construction is complete, Brightwater trail users will see a new rock wall, fence, and landscaping on Alpha Hill. The landscaping needs time to take root, so the plants you see will grow over time. This project will not change access to the three miles of maintained trails at Brightwater. You will still be able to enjoy the trails year-round.

Brightwater trails map showing trail closure in south trails area near Alpha Hill.

A section of trail in the south trails area will be temporarily closed during construction on Alpha Hill. On the map, that area is shown by the dotted red line between the two stop sign icons. Please stay on open trails to protect the surrounding landscape.

Brightwater Center is now the Christie True Environmental Education Center — Who is Christie True?

The community and education center at Brightwater has a new name! The Christie True Environmental Education Center is dedicated to the longest-serving director of King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, who retired earlier this year. Starting out as a wastewater quality technician 39 years ago, True went on to become the project manager who sited, planned, and, as director, led the building of Brightwater Treatment Plant in 2011. Learn more about True's legacy on the WTD blog.

Birding at a Wastewater Treatment Facility? Brightwater becomes a hot spot for feathered friends

The Brightwater trails are a great place to learn about birds! Today, rich habitat and waters provide a sanctuary for over 130 bird species, highlighting an extraordinary ecological revival. Read WTD's recent blog about birding at Brightwater to learn what makes it such a great space to see birds. Maybe you’ll spot a new bird on your next visit!

Interested in upcoming events at Brightwater? Sign up for a Brightwater trail walk or treatment plant tour online here

Four people walk along a Brightwater trail surrounded by trees and a nearby field.

Brightwater trails are a great place to explore nature, learn about the environment, and see wildlife. 

Sign up for summer camps at Brightwater Education Center (Grades 1-6)

IslandWood partners with King County to offer summer camps for first through sixth graders at the Brightwater Education Center. This summer, come explore 72 acres of forest and three miles of trails to learn about ecosystems, birds, bugs, and more! Learn more and sign up online.

As you enjoy the Brightwater trails this spring, remember to keep your furry friends on leashes and pick up their poo!

When WTD creates outdoor access, we design spaces for people of all ages and abilities, and for wildlife. We rely on our human visitors to make sure everyone feels welcome and safe in these spaces. 

Dogs must be on leash in many parks and outdoor spaces, including King County WTD’s public access areas. Leashing your dogs is a good practice to make sure everyone can enjoy the trails.

In Snohomish County, dogs produce 63 tons of poo every day! Bacteria and other pathogens can wash off on yards, streets, and trails into waterways, affecting fish and mammals. If you bring your dog to the trail, you must pick up dog poo to protect our creeks, streams, rivers, and Puget Sound. Make sure you put the used bag in the garbage! If you can’t find a garbage disposal nearby, please take the waste home for disposal.

Join King County’s Workforce

A woman wears safety gear and is standing in front of outdoor pipes at the Brightwater Treatment Plant.

WTD employees, like Shane Hamilton, an industrial mechanic at West Point Treatment Plant, and Pam Restovic, a senior operator at Brightwater Treatment Plant, have developed successful career paths with King County. Read their stories here.

Find your career with competitive pay, benefits and a pension plan today. Get notified about new positions by searching KC Jobs and set up automatic notifications for any job category of interest, such as "wastewater.”

Subscribe to The Bubbler

Sign up for The Bubbler newsletter to follow King County Wastewater Treatment Division’s latest news and updates on clean water investments. Get caught up by checking out the past issues, available on WTD's website.

Questions or Comments? Contact Us!

Emily Berry, Community Services

Interpretation and translation services are available to you at no cost. If you need them please
contact Emily Berry,, 206-848-0698.

Los servicios de interpretación y traducción están disponibles para usted sin costo alguno. Si los necesita, comuníquese con Emily Berry,, 206-848-0698.

免費為您提供口譯和筆譯服務。如果您需要這些服 務,請聯絡 Emily Berry,, 206-848-0698.

免费为您提供口译和笔译服务。如果您需要这些服 务,请联络 Emily Berry,, 206-848-0698.

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