Olympic Pipeline seeks 10-year agreement

The Bellevue City Council heard a thorough briefing from an engineer regarding a renewed franchise agreement with Olympic Pipeline Company at Monday's meeting.


The Bellevue City Council heard a thorough briefing from an engineer regarding a renewed franchise agreement with Olympic Pipeline Company at Monday’s meeting.

Titus Butcher, an engineer for the city of Bellevue, presented the agreement and answered questions about the proposal — which would renew a franchise agreement with the petroleum product transportation company for 10 years. Council is expected to vote on the franchise agreement on Feb. 16.

Olympic Pipeline runs two pipes of different diameters through Bellevue, a 16 inch and 20 inch pipe that split near Kamber Road and continue south to Renton, where the company is headquartered.

The city has had an agreement with the company since 1964. The pipeline is owned by BP (formerly British Petroleum), and extends from Anacortes to Portland, Oregon.

“Our current agreement with them expires Feb. 26,” Butcher said.

Several extensions have kicked the agreement down the road, but February is the time to make the 10-year deal, city transportation officials said. Part of the renewal includes a $22,500 fee Olympic will pay Bellevue once a year for rights to use. That rate may fluctuate depending on inflation.

Also attached to the deal is an added information agreement. It stipulates that Bellevue has access to Olympic’s emergency response plan, the exact location of the pipeline, the damage prevention procedure and the scopes of repair. As part of the franchise, Bellevue can permit relocations on Olympic’s dime.

Several residents who spoke before the meeting were concerned with potential hazards from the pipeline, which transports gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel. A 1999 accident in Bellingham killed three people and between 1988 and August 2008, there were 5,960 national incidents involving pipelines. Olympic pays all emergency response costs as part of the agreement.

Butcher said the company used a machine called a “smart pig,” which traveled the length of the pipeline and pinpointed weak parts. A city or county can then go to that location and excavate to find and repair the damaged pipe before petroleum can leach into the groundwater.

In a 2014 smart pig inspection, only one anomaly was found in the length of the pipe and was quickly repaired.

The Olympic pipeline supplies 40 percent of the maritime Northwest’s fuel, and 100 percent of jet fuel going to Sea-Tac Airport. It transports the fuel equivalent of one tanker truck per minute on the freeway.

In other council news:

• City employees delivered a presentation of the draft 2016 Parks and Open Space System Plan, which showcased a proposal to connect many of the urban trails around Bellevue.

Among these was a “grand connection” to connect Meydenbauer Bay to the Eastside Rail Corridor with a series of trails and greenbelts.

The parks plan, which is updated every six years, surveyed more than 1,000 residents to discover what was important to them about Bellevue’s parks.

Results led to the addition of several capital projects to the city’s plans, including new parks in Eastgate and Wilburton, improved undeveloped park sites in Bridle Trails and Newport Hills, shelters and picnic areas and redevelopment of Sweyolocken boat launch.

According to a city press release, past successful projects resulting from the parks and open space system plan include Bridle Trails Corner Park, a new Bellevue Youth theatre, a visitor center at Bellevue Botanical Garden and field upgrades at Newport Hills, Bannerwood and Hidden Valley parks.

• Council heard presentation from Sound Transit about funding the ST3 project.

A draft ST3 plan is expected to be issued in late March for public comment.

A letter jointly signed by several Eastside cities expressed interest in fully funding multiple Sound Transit projects. Among these were the East Link light rail extension to Redmond, bus rapid transit on Interstate 405 from Lynnwood to SeaTac, light rail from Totem Lake to Issaquah via Bellevue and a new transit center in Renton.


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