"Mud Mountain" at Monterra
From all outward appearances, the mud mountain that has risen across from the Saddle Club is a travesty. The research that we have carried out doesn't do much to alleviate our associated concerns.
What was supposed to be a two season project metastasized into a five year ordeal that has grown to something more than twice the size of what was originally proposed. If our concerns about the stability of the site turn out to be justified, then we are looking at many more years of dealing with a gargantuan mess in the middle of our neighborhood.
The HHA discussed this at the onset and decided that, since the project was permitted and monitored by King County, we should let it be. We were mistaken.
We erred in assuming that the County would do its job to monitor and hold the contractor accountable for the project. Our research points strongly to a failure by the County to carry out this due diligence. Sadly, this has become a recurring pattern across Rural King County, the recent lack of code enforcement being another variation of this theme.
The County apparently did nothing to monitor the site, so it is hard to quantify just how big this project became. Information that we found shows the original quantity of fill that was permitted by the County was 160,000 cubic yards. The County claims no way of knowing or even estimating how much eventually found its way to the site because the codes do not require them to do monitor this unless the contractor uses "arterial" roadways in hauling operations. When County officials pointed out that the dirt was hauled in over Woodinville's city roads, we pointed out that NE 172nd Street, which is a designated arterial, was used for the empty trucks. This was met with some fidgeting but no further comment by the County.
An article in the Woodinville Weekly came up with an estimate of over 360,000 cubic yards. Records show that the City of Woodinville granted heavy haul permits to TTI Construction for up to 600,000 cubic yards, almost 400% of what was sold to King County.
On the positive side, we have been assured that the site is now closed to additional fill and that the contractor is finalizing stabilization of the site. The Contractor put up a $250,000 bond that the County will hold until it is satisfied that the site is stabilized.
The obvious question on our minds is what are the criteria for "stabilized"? The only vegetative measures required involve hydroseed. Even once the grass is established, it will do nothing for deep stability. We have already witnessed significant surface failure of the existing hydroseed after the relatively modest rain a few weekends ago. In the face of that, County Engineer Randy Sandin tells us that the contractor will be required to cover the mound once again this winter, but that no plan for when or with what to cover it has been put into place. This is in late October with winter rains just around the corner.
Another concern is with the sediment trap at the bottom of the site. While it apparently passed infiltration tests in October, it is yet to be seen whether that infiltration is going into subsurface aquifers, as it should for proper function, or is just leaking around the unsealed concrete ecology blocks that make up its structure. Even if it works, it will capture the copious amounts of sediment that are sure to erode from the site. Once the County deems the contractor's stabilization work complete, it will be our tax dollars that will used to clean the trap and to maintain this site in the following years.