Carlsborg sewer design likely by this summer

By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

CARLSBORG –– A conceputal design for collecting sewage in Carlsborg and transporting it to Sequim could be finalized by this summer, clearing the path for construction of a centralized system to treat the unincorporated community’s wastewater.

Bob Martin, administrative director of Clallam County’s public works department, told the Carlsborg Community Advisory Council at its meeting in the Greywolf Elementary School library Tuesday night he expects to present a design for the system at its next meeting May 13.

No ‘fatal flaws’

“I don’t think we’ve identified any fatal flaws,” Martin said.

After the Carlsborg council reviews the plan, it will go through a series of state, county and municipal agencies for approval.

Barring setbacks, Martin said, the plan could be approved as soon as August.

“It’s a simple force main to Sequim,” he said. “It shouldn’t take too long to do.”

A force main is a pressurized main pipe.

With that approval, the county and its design consultant Gray & Osborne of Seattle could draw up a final design of the system for construction as early as next year.

The collection design also will allow the county to establish what rates it likely will charge Carlsborg landowners to hook into the system, Martin said.

Growth management

The county is designing a system to treat Carlsborg’s sewage to comply with requirements of the state’s Growth Management Act.

Without a wastewater solution, the community will no longer be considered an Urban Growth Area and will not be allowed to expand.

Most of Carlsborg, which is home to businesses that provide more than 1,000 jobs, uses septic systems.

The county in March agreed to take on the Carlsborg sewer system from the Clallam County Public Utility District.

In doing so, the county took on a $10 million loan from the state’s Public Works Trust Fund. The county has another $4.3 million set aside in a special fund for the sewer.

Sequim option favored

A sewage treatment plant at Carlsborg was originally considered, but high costs of construction have made conveying wastewater to Sequim a more attractive option, Martin said.

Under the plan, sewage would be piped from a collection station in Carlsborg east across the Dungeness River to Sequim, where it would be treated by the city’s sewer plant.

Jay Swift, an engineer with Gray & Osborne, told county commissioners in February a collection and conveyance system to ship wastewater to Sequim would cost an estimated $14,029,000 compared with a $20.99 million price tag of a Carlsborg treatment plant.

Operational costs also would be lower.

Costs for businesses to tap into the sewer system would be approximately $7,000, with monthly rates of about $68 per month, Martin said.

Comparable rates

He noted the rates were comparable to other municipal rates and that the county is considering a subsidy to reduce the connection charge in the first two years to encourage landowners to abandon their septic systems and hook into the sewer.

Councilman Scott Frederick asked about some of the population assumptions used as part of the study, saying they were “extremely high.”

Some assume as many as 12 to 14 lots in an acre, he said, though development is nowhere near that density.

“There’s no way you’re getting 12 to 14 units an acre unless you’re building high rises,” Frederick said. “Is that going to affect the rates?”

Based on buildings

Martin said the county will set rates based on Carlsborg’s current buildings.

“It has to work for us basically at year one financially,” Martin said.

He added the facilities will have the capacity to handle the high development estimates.

Martin also noted that development in Carlsborg has slowed because of the sewer situation.

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Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at jsmillie@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: April 10. 2014 5:07PM
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