Actions & Partnerships

People rebuilding Thornton Creek
SPU biologist Katherine Lynch (foreground) revived and restored Seattle’s Thornton Creek with an extensive team of partners. Floodplain restoration provides stormwater management, habitat, and additional ecosystem benefits today and into the future. Credit: Jelle Wagenaar

We are addressing climate change across the utility and with partners. We’re guided by our “Community Centered, One Water, Zero Waste” vision. All SPU employees contribute to this work, including hydrologists, planners, frontline crew members, foresters, engineers, biologists, customer service representatives, racial equity advisors, construction managers, and financial officers. 

Climate Actions at SPU

Seattle’s Consumption Based Emissions Inventory (2019-2020): The City of Seattle has developed a consumption-based emissions inventory (CBEI) which estimates the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with all the goods and services consumed within the community, no matter where they are produced (including the extraction of raw materials, manufacturing, and global transportation). This inventory looks at all of the emissions associated with the food we eat, the things we buy, how we travel, and the homes we live in. Seattle is committed to addressing consumption-based emissions, and SPU’s ongoing focus on waste prevention is an important part of this effort.

Green House Gas Operational Inventory: SPU now conducts an annual greenhouse gas inventory in order to track and manage the emissions from our operations.

Ship Canal Water Quality Project: a climate-informed investment. The Ship Canal Water Quality Project, the largest drainage & wastewater project ever undertaken by SPU, includes a 2.7 mile-long underground tunnel to reduce polluted stormwater runoff and sewage into Salmon Bay, the Ship Canal and Lake Union. Based on an expectation of a 6-9% increase in total rainfall between 2015 and 2035, the Ship Canal Tunnel was enlarged from 14 feet in diameter to 18 feet 10 inches in diameter to increase tunnel storage volume from ~15 to 30 million gallons.  

Food Rescue Innovation: Food waste is one of the largest contributors to climate change. SPU’s Food Rescue Innovation program aims to address this by diverting wholesome, edible food towards communities in need, via partnerships with food banks, meal programs, and food businesses.  

Fleet and Facilities Electrification: SPU operates a fleet of 800+ leased and owned vehicles located at numerous facilities throughout the City of Seattle and the region. SPU has prioritized electrifying our fleet and reducing GHG emissions. SPU’s building electrification strategy phases out fossil fuels by 2035. 

Learn more about climate action.


We work in partnership with climate scientists, peer utilities, and community-based organizations, and take a holistic and integrated approach to managing water and waste cycles to build community resilience and steward our environment.

Image of an adult and child dipping water from a stream as part of the Salmon in Schools program

Public Utilities

Andrew Lee, General Manager and CEO
Address: 700 5th Avenue, Suite 4900, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34018, Seattle, WA, 98124-5177
Phone: (206) 684-3000

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Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is comprised of three major direct-service providing utilities: the Water Utility, the Drainage and Wastewater Utility, and the Solid Waste Utility.