Communities address sewer systems

Published on Thu, Apr 10, 2003 by Rebecca Schwarz Kopf

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Communities address sewer systems

By Rebecca Schwarz Kopf

In recent weeks, both Blaine and Birch Bay officials have looked at sewer systems in their communities.

The commissioners of Birch Bay water and sewer district approved a 2.55 percent increase in water and sewer rates at their March 27 meeting. This increase is less than the 5.4 percent general cost inflation since the last rate increase in July of 2001.

The increase will mean an additional $1.87 per bi-monthly billing, or an amount of $22.44 per year for the average customer with a usage of 900 cubic feet per billing. The rate increase will take effect with the first billing in May.

According to officials, the district management performs an annual extensive review of the financial position of the district. This review considers current financial resources, operational and capital/construction expenditure and revenue projections for a period of 10 years. This evaluation allows the commissioners to make sure that adequate funding will be on hand when needed and avoid extreme rate changes.

Blaine officials addressed a full room at the Blaine senior center last Thursday to identify the city�s wastewater treatment capacity and its ability to serve growth until the current system is replaced.

Public works director Steve Banham presented information on the current capacity of the sewer, ways to cut back on sewer problems, and spoke about future plans for a new sewer system.

Since 1970, he stated, Blaine�s population has consistently increased, and is currently at 4,053. �In the last three years, we�ve seen growth in terms of residential,� Banham said. �And this year there is a significant amount of construction interests.�

According to projected residential growth numbers, based on high county growth population, Blaine�s population could rise to almost 5,000 people by 2010.

Banham said the city is currently acting now to meet the current needs and plan for the future. �The city of Blaine will be able to provide adequate wastewater service to the community until a new wastewater treatment facility is in place,� he anticipated.

If the city does nothing, Banham said, the current system would probably reach capacity in 2005 and 2006. �But that�s only if we don�t do anything. But we have measures in place now.�

The city plans on siting a general sewer plan in October 2003, which will meet Department of Ecology planning requirements and state new plant figures.

�As a community you�ll be involved (in the process),� he said. �And we hope you stay involved.�

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