King County Won’t Take Shell’s Shit (Literally)

King County this afternoon announced it was denying wastewater permit for the Shell oil rig now parked at Terminal 5 in Elliott Bay.

Put another way, King County won’t take Shell’s shit.

As is, the wastewater produced on the drilling rig is being hauled away by Waste Management. Shell wants to connect directly into King County’s sewer system and tells the county it will have as many as 400 people on the rig and other supporting vessels at any given time, according to Christie True, director of King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks (she could not say for sure how many toilets that means the rig has, but we're looking into it).

True says the permit was denied on two grounds: First, the permit was applied for by Waste Management National Services, Inc. of Kirkland, even though the wastewater is being generated by the Alaska Venture Shell Facility. Also, the County says Shell has shown “a lack of ability to demonstrate compliance with pre-treatment standards...” Specifically, the county says Shell couldn’t show it would in particular prevent “potential toxins, and potential hazards posed by the generation of hydrogen sulfide gases that can endanger workers, corrode sewer pipes and emit the smell of rotten eggs.” (Am I the only one surprised to hear that there are regulations on how bad your shit can stink?)

True insisted that the permits were not denied simply to make things difficult for Shell in Seattle.

However, a non-sequitur quote from County Executive Dow Constantine in the press release announcing the news does lead one to the impression that this isn’t really about proper sewer management.

“Everyone has to follow the rules, even multinational corporations,” Constantine said. “Over the long term, we need to invigorate the promise of a clean-energy future and make King County the regional catalyst for carbon reduction, renewable energy, and a new innovation economy.”

Yeah, he’s not talking about poop anymore.

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