The staff and leadership of the Lake Washington Youth Soccer Association (LWYSA) is giving the future their “full 90” with a permanent connection to recycled water for irrigating the soccer fields at 60 Acres Park. LWYSA leases 60 Acres Park from King County Parks for their soccer program, which helps 7,000 young soccer players pursue their dreams.
Future soccer stars have learned firsthand about more than just the Ronaldo Move. They have watched LWYSA set an example of environmental stewardship that will benefit not only their playfields, but the nearby Sammamish River.
Soccer players prefer to play on grass than artificial surface because it’s cooler on hot days and the ball plays truer on a well maintained grass field. But grass requires water and nourishment to thrive, especially with the pounding of 44 feet for 60-90 minutes per game.
During the record-setting drought in 2015, the playfields remained green and healthy as thousands of youth soccer players practiced and played games at this venue. Despite relentless heat, dry days and back-to-back weekend games from dawn until dusk, the fields at 60 Acres stayed green, irrigated through a temporary connection with recycled water from King County’s Brightwater Treatment Plant. This year, the connection became permanent, replacing the salmon-bearing Sammamish River as a source of irrigation water.
Recycled water, known as reclaimed water, is recovered from the wastewater treatment process. The water we flush or wash down the drain every day can be processed to produce clear, odor-free recycled water. Plants take up nutrients from our waste that remain in the water, helping grass to grow and stay healthy.
The Washington Department of Ecology regulates recycled water to ensure safety. Recycled water is safe for human contact as well as irrigation on sports fields and even edible crops. The only thing people can’t do is take a long drink from a hose of recycled water- it’s not approved for drinking.
The LWYSA has scored a goal for kids and provided an assist for salmon. At 60 Acres Park, aspiring soccer stars build self-esteem and fitness, knowing that as they chase the ball, salmon are swimming in more cool, fresh water in the Sammamish River.
KC Executive Dow Constantine thanked the association for their stewardship. “LWYSA’s commitment is admirable. King County stands ready to continue our partnership to ensure that your fields remain a green and sustainable place for youth soccer players to thrive.”
King County has been safely producing and distributing recycled water from its treatment plants for more than 20 years. Other King County recycled water customers include Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila where the Seattle Sounders practice, and the Willows Run Golf Course in Redmond, which is one of the only certified Salmon Safe golf courses in the Northwest. Additional information about King County’s Recycled Water Program is available at http://www.kingcounty.gov/recycledwater.