Commissioners, PUD looking for water upgrade

Carlsborg system discussed to help with existing development, growth

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County Commissioners and the Clallam County Public Utility District are continuing a yearslong effort to provide enough water for existing development and projected growth in the Carlsborg area.

The county commissioners discussed a memorandum of understanding regarding the issue at their regular Monday morning work session. The MOU is non-binding, but the process will lead to a legally binding interlocal agreement.

“I appreciate you staying with this. Infrastructure is the one thing the commissioners can do for development,” Clallam County Commissioner Bill Peach told Clallam County Transportation Manager Steve Gray.

Gray said the draft memorandum was intended to get water service to the Carlsborg area. Clallam PUD is trying to establish a “shared interest” with the county to help in obtaining water rights for the area, he said.

The state Department of Ecology is waiting for the Jamestown S’Klallam tribe’s comment, and this MOU will help them with Ecology, Gray said.

The commissioners will have a joint meeting with the Jamestown S’Klallam tribe at 1 p.m. Sept. 1 via Zoom.

Gray wrote in a later email that the PUD has a “duty to serve” areas designated as “retail service areas” within their larger designated “service area.” The Carlsborg Urban Growth Area is within the PUD’s Carlsborg Water System “service area,” but not all of the UGA is within the “retail service area.”

“If the PUD can serve the UGA, then that’s good because it shows Ecology the two sides are working together,” Gray said.

Clallam County Commissioner Mark Ozias said it’s been a project for years to expand Carlsborg’s water supply.

The PUD commissioners also discussed the MOU at their Monday afternoon meeting.

PUD Water and Wastewater Systems Manager Tom Martin told the PUD commissioners that he was happy with it and thought the stakeholders would be happy as well.

“I think we followed a really good mutually based interests process,” he told the PUD board.

Some of the “shared interests” in the MOU include:

• Expand the district’s retail service area to the remainder of the Carlsborg Region that is not currently served by an existing Group A Public Water System.

• Provide predictability of water service to developers within the entire UGA.

• Appropriate and develop sufficient water for full buildout of the Carlsborg UGA, to be supplied by a Group A water system to support affordable housing economic development, and other development in the existing UGA.

• Reduce proliferation of private exempt wells in the Carlsborg Region and preserve the resources of the Dungeness Water Exchange for rural areas.

• Install water transmission lines and other related infrastructure needed to bring water from the Carlsborg Very Deep Well to the Carlsborg UGA.

• Have in place a Blending Treatment System, which uses clean water from the new Carlsborg Very Deep Well to abate nitrate contamination of drinking water supplies from the LUD 10 Well, by 2026.

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Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached by email at brian.gawley@peninsuladailynews.com.

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