The Suquamish Tribal Government is holding a series of online forums for Tribal members to hear the latest from government departments and ask questions of program leaders.
The forums are held every Tuesday and Thursday, starting at 4:30pm Suquamish Time. These forums are for Tribal members only.
A link to each forum is sent via the Suquamish Updates Now (SUN) text and email service. (If you haven’t signed up for the free SUN service yet, you can do that here.)
Here’s the schedule for the upcoming forums:
Housing, Community Development, and Land Use
Health, Wellness, and COVID response, including behavioral telehealth efforts
Finance and Budget
Fisheries, Natural Resources, Treaty Protection, with a focus on cockles, forestry, and U&A battles
Suquamish Police Department, with a focus on community-oriented policing and de-escalation
Education, with an emphasis on school re-opening plans
‘The People of the Clear Salt Water’ say Puget Sound community deserves better
SUQUAMISH, WA – The Suquamish Tribe announced its intention to sue King County for repeatedly releasing untreated or improperly treated sewage into the Puget Sound.
In a letter dated July 21, 2020, the Tribe gives King County officials 60 days’ notice of the Tribe’s intent to file a lawsuit for the county’s ongoing violations of the Clean Water Act and its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.
According to public records, King County discharged hundreds of thousands of gallons of untreated or improperly treated sewage from the West Point Wastewater Treatment Plant, located on the shores of Seattle’s Discovery Park, into Puget Sound in 2018 and 2019. King County is also responsible for a number of NPDES permit violations, discharging effluent wastewater into Puget Sound between 2015 and 2020. These discharges occurred at the West Point Treatment Plant, as well as other treatment facilities, and Combined Sewer Outfalls, on the shores of Centennial Park on Elliot Bay in downtown Seattle, and near Alki Beach in West Seattle.
“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. “We acknowledge that King County has invested and will invest more to improve their wastewater treatment system, but the Suquamish Tribe and its members are frustrated by the ongoing sewage releases and King County’s other pollution violations in Puget Sound, which continue to harm marine water quality and the Tribe’s ability to exercise reserved treaty rights and engage in cultural activities. We are running out of time and need swifter action. We look forward to discussions with King County, through our long-standing government-to-government relationship, during this 60 day notice period.”
In the July 21 letter, the Suquamish Tribe notified King County that it is responsible for at least 11 significant illegal discharges of untreated sewage from the West Point Treatment plant into the Tribe’s treaty-protected fishing areas, with individual discharge events ranging from 50,000 gallons to 2.1 million gallons.
The Tribe also notified King County that between 2015 and 2020, it violated effluent wastewater discharge permit limits for pH and chlorine at the West Point Treatment Plant, as well as the Elliott West and Alki Combined Sewer Outfalls.
In 2013, King County entered into a Consent Decree with the State of Washington, and the Environmental Protection Agency to address serious and ongoing sewage discharges from its wastewater treatment facilities and combined sewer outfalls that were in violation of the Clean Water Act. Notwithstanding a series of enforcement actions against King County, Clean Water Act violations have continued, including major releases from the West Point Treatment Plant.
The Suquamish Tribe – known as “The People of the Clear Salt Water” in their Southern Lushootseed language – have fished and gathered shellfish in and near the Puget Sound since time immemorial. The waters of Elliott Bay and other waterways into which King County has been discharging untreated sewage make up much of the Tribe’s treaty-protected fishing and shellfish harvesting areas.
“This lawsuit is not just about how these dangerous spills affect the Suquamish Tribe,” said Chairman Forsman. “The entire Puget Sound community deserves clean water. The shellfish, the orca, and all sea life rely on clean water, and all of our children – and children’s children – deserve clean water.”
“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.
A copy of the letter of intent is available here.
NOTE: This should not be confused with the Suquamish Tribe’s COVID-19 Financial Assistance, which you can apply for here. The following is for relief of housing costs only. If you have already applied for either program, you do not need to reapply.
The Suquamish Tribal Council is aware of the financial hardship and uncertainty our membership is facing during this COVID-19 pandemic. We have met to discuss ways in which we can help alleviate the financial stress our membership is currently facing. One way to relieve some financial stress is to assist our tribal tenants who are unsure how they will make their upcoming housing payments.
The COVID-19 Housing Relief Application is designed for tenants who reside in Suquamish Tribal Housings, including Elder Housings, NAHASDA Housings, Suquamish Steps Program, and Mutual Help Homeownership programs affected by COVID-19 “Stay at Home” order. Residents may be eligible for payment deferment for their housing payment from May 2020 to December 2020 due to financial hardship.
Deferment of housing payment is not payment forgiveness. A repayment plan will be created at a later date.
COVID-19 Housing Relief Application does not apply to residents that only pay water fee or sewer fee to the Suquamish Housing Program.
You can download the application here or fill out the online form below.
In response to the Suquamish Tribal Council’s facial covering policy (Resolution # 2020-104) and overall COVID–19 response, the Suquamish Tribe’s Emergency Operations Center would like to assist our Port Madison Indian Reservation businesses during this global public health emergency.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the social and economic vitality of our local community. But we can lessen these impacts and recover from this public health pandemic when business owners like yourself take steps to reduce your risk and take steps now to recover. Working collaboratively with employees, the public, and local government, businesses can help strengthen both public health and community response in a manner that protects us all.
To support this effort, the Suquamish Tribe’s Office of Emergency Management has compiled this tool kit of resources with links to useful tools that are drawn from the following authoritative sources:
Suquamish Tribal Government
Kitsap Health District
Washington State Department of Health
Food Workers and Establishments Guidance on COVID-19
Washington State Coronavirus Response
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Planning Guides & Checklists
Don’t Spread Germs at Work (Employers)
Stay Home if You’re Sick (Employers)
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)