Community deserves better response from King County

Dow Constantine has refused to even acknowledge letters from Burton Water Company

The editorial of Feb. 7 concerning the county response to asphalt millings illegally stockpiled and spread all over Vashon-Maury Islands hits the nail squarely on the head (“Communication from county on millings needs improvement”). Public officials, in their lack of communication concerning this incident and their extremely slow response, have failed this community.

King County Executive Dow Constantine has refused to even acknowledge letters from Burton Water Company, its lawyers and concerned citizens. Joe McDermott has not acknowledged a letter from the Vashon-Maury Island Groundwater Protection Committee and has repeatedly sidestepped the issue by pointing his finger at Dow Constantine, King County Department of Transportation or King County Department of Permitting and Environmental Review.

After seven months, the millings still have not been removed from the Burton Watershed, owned by Misty Isle Farms. Is the drinking water of over 1,000 people being contaminated while we wait for better weather?

Already, Burton Water Company has spent over $20,000 fighting to get these illegally dumped millings removed. Additional — and expensive — water-quality tests will be required in the coming years to ensure safe drinking water. These are costs unfairly borne by the owners and customers of Burton Water Company.

If contamination of the drinking water is found, the customers of Burton Water Company could face costs ranging into the millions of dollars for treatment facilities to remove the contaminants.

Why are our publicly elected officials refusing to talk to us about this issue? What are they hiding? Why have they been so slow to protect us from a threat that they created?

This community deserves answers to these and many other questions.

— Jim Garrison,

Burton Water Company

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