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A Brief History

The original sewage Treatment Plant for the area was built in Olympia by the City to meet its own wastewater needs. Construction of the Plant was authorized by the City Commission in 1949 and primary treatment went on-line in the early 1950s. The City of Tumwater and the Olympia Brewing Company contracted with Olympia for wastewater treatment service in 1954 and were both connected to the system in 1955. Later, in 1969, Lacey also contracted with Olympia for service and connected to the system.

To qualify for state and federal grants, an Interlocal Agreement between the three cities and the county was signed in 1976. It provided for cooperative use and development of the Olympia Treatment Plant, established jointly funded major sewer lines and initiated an intergovernmental planning process for a major upgrade of the Treatment Plant. The resulting 1983 upgrade provided secondary treatment of wastewater.

The treatment plant was further upgraded in the early 1990s to add nitrogen removal and ultraviolet disinfection and upgrade the plant's outfall into Budd Inlet. Those new systems came on-line in 1994.

As the result of a major Inflow and Infiltration study conducted from 1992-1994, the LOTT partners learned their Treatment Plant could reach capacity as soon as 2001 during wet weather. In September 1995, they began a four-year long-range planning process, resulting in the Wastewater Resource Management Plan. A new Intergovernmental Agreement was approved by the four LOTT partners (Lacey, Olympia, Tumwater, and Thurston County) in January 2000 to restructure LOTT and implement the Plan.

In 2004, the first upgrade under the new plan occurred at the Budd Inlet Treatment Plant, with the addition of a new Class A Reclaimed Water sand filter system. The same year, construction began on LOTT's first satellite facilities – the Martin Way Reclaimed Water Plant, constructed Wetland Ponds, and Groundwater Recharge Basins that make up the Hawks Prairie Reclaimed Water Satellite. The Satellite became operational in 2006; testing and fine tuning followed.

Organization and Governance Structure

The original 1976 LOTT governance structure was a partnership on paper. LOTT did not exist as an entity. The City of Olympia was the legal owner of all LOTT facilities, and operated them on behalf of all four partners. The City of Olympia also held all financial responsibility and contract authority for the partnership. While LOTT operations were guided by an elected official from each of the four partner governments, known as "The Advisory Committee" (TAC), they were the technical advisory to the Olympia City Council.

As a result of the 1995-1999 long-range planning process, the new LOTT Wastewater Alliance was incorporated as a non-profit organization on April 17, 2000. A transitional period followed, during which legal documents were prepared for transition of LOTT assets, financial authority, and outstanding agreements from the City of Olympia to the new organization. The transfers were completed effective July 1, 2001, and LOTT became a full stand-alone entity for the first time.

Initially, operation and maintenance of the LOTT facilities stayed with Olympia, under contract to the LOTT Alliance. Effective January 1, 2005, LOTT assumed full responsibility for those services as well.

The LOTT Alliance is governed by a Board of Directors. Four elected officials – one from each of the partner governments – are appointed to represent their jurisdictions on the Board. The Board provides policy oversight for planning, construction, financing, and operations of LOTT programs and joint facilities and plans for future facilities.

Public Values

LOTT's long-range planning was guided by a series of 10 Public Values, identified as the result of public opinion surveying at the beginning of the planning process. Those public values continue to guide planning and implementation of LOTT's programs and capital projects.

  1. As a first priority, maximize utilization of LOTT's existing treatment capacity. Manage demand to avoid or delay the need for new treatment capacity.
  2. Prepare a plan that meets current and future wastewater needs throughout the LOTT service area. Accommodate planned growth, consistent with LOTT's legal requirements.
  3. Select wastewater facilities for the region's future that yield maximum benefits to the environment. Mitigate any potentially adverse impacts of new facilities.
  4. Take all possible steps to control facilities costs. Carefully consider the lowest cost and most cost-effective alternatives, and evaluate the impact on LOTT ratepayers.
  5. Treasure LOTT's treated wastewater as a valuable, long-term resource to be cleaned and restored, reused, then ultimately returned to the environment.
  6. Clearly define, demonstrate and document the value to the community of new facilities needed for the future. Design any new LOTT facilities to produce multiple benefits for the community.
  7. Conduct a pro-active and open facilities planning process that informs and involves citizens in planning and decision making.
  8. Assure an equitable distribution of costs for any new facilities between current ratepayers and new development.
  9. Establish an organizational structure to build and operate the region's future facilities effectively and efficiently, and that assures equitable and accountable representation of the public.
  10. Integrate LOTT's facilities plan with other related local issues, plans and infrastructure programs to maximize regional cooperation and avoid duplication of effort and cost.

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