District discusses water service extensions

Published on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 by By Jeremy Schwartz

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The Birch Bay Water and Sewer District board of commissioners came down hard on the idea of providing water outside of the district’s service area at their regular meeting last Thursday.

The commissioners heard from Dave Voigt, who owns property in Birch Bay. Voigt requested the water district install a fire hydrant near his property, which lies outside of the district’s service area at the corner of Bay and Kickerville roads.

Voigt said he thought the district should provide a fire hydrant near his property because it is across the street from the district’s main storage tank. Voigt had been working with the Dan Eisses, the district’s structural engineer, on the logistics of installing a fire hydrant.

The house currently on the property gets its water from the Old Settlers Water Association, Voigt said. However, only the Birch Bay water district can provide enough water for a fire hydrant, he explained.

Board members expressed reluctance toward the proposal. Board secretary Don Montfort questioned who would pay for installation and maintain the fire hydrant. Monfort pointed out, as Voigt does not pay water fees to the district he would not be paying for the hydrant. All hydrants in the district are paid for through district water bills.

Echoing Monfort’s sentiments, fellow commissioner Patrick Alesse said he was reluctant to take on the responsibility of providing water outside of the district at the pressure and volume required for a fire hydrant.
Voigt said he wants to add an approximately 2,500 square foot horse barn to the property in question. Whatcom County is requiring a fire hydrant because of the size of the barn.

“I do appreciate the district considering it,” Voigt said. “But if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.”

The commissioners reiterated that the Birch Bay water and sewer system is intended only to provide water to customers within its service area. General manager Roger had provided commissioners with a draft policy spelling out the district’s policies toward out of service area requests.

Commissioners will most likely vote on the policy at their next regular meeting.

Brown said he presented the draft policy for consideration at this meeting because the board wanted to discuss the policy in the context of Voigt’s request. The commissioners have received requests similar to Voigt’s in the past and agreed there needs to be a formal policy the public can consult, Brown explained.