Jefferson County seeks comment on sewer plant permit

Deadline Sept. 2 for comment

PORT TOWNSEND — The Jefferson County Community Development Department is seeking public comment by Sept. 2 on a conditional use permit application for the planned Port Hadlock sewer plant in the Port Hadlock/Irondale Urban Growth Area.

County Associate Planner Joel Peterson said the county is seeking comments regarding the land use permits for building the sewer plant.

Comments may cover issues about the land use, construction and implementation of the facility.

Comments also may cover issues about the changes in land use in the Urban Growth Area as a result of the project.

This will be the only opportunity to make comments related to the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).

Many of these issues have already been evaluated in the Jefferson Count Comprehensive Plan, as this facility has been planned for many years, and supporting background can be located in that important planning document that was approved in 2018, Peterson’s email said.

Written comment, and requests for information, can be submitted to the Jefferson County Department of Community Development, Development Review Division, 621 Sheridan St., Port Townsend, WA 98368. Information is also available at 360-379-4450.

Comments are due by 4:30 p.m. Sept. 2.

When Jefferson County began planning under the Growth Management Act in 1990, the Port Hadlock and Irondale areas were identified as ones exhibiting urban development patterns..

So land use planning began that resulted in designation of the Port Hadlock/Irondale Urban Growth Area in 2004. The UGA became fully compliant with state law in 2009.

The GMA allows urban development only in areas with urban services, including sewer service, so the county began planning for a Port Hadlock/Irondale sewer system in 2005, Petersen wrote.

The state ecology department approved the county’s plan for a Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) system, which treats wastewater to a level where it is classified as “Class A reclaimed water.”

Then it can be used for nearly everything except drinking water, such as irrigation and infiltration to groundwater.

Peterson said the project would infiltrate the water into an infiltration pond near Chimacum Creek to enhance its base flows to support threatened summer chum salmon that spawn in the creek.

The creek, whose east and west forks run through the Beaver and Center valleys, is a salmonid-supporting stream the Northwest Salmon Coalition has sought to restore; it also flows through a number of family farms.

The county now has the money for the project’s first phase. Additional phases and expansion of treatment capacity will be done as customers connect and funding becomes available.

The plant is planned to be built on county land off state Highway 116 near the Jefferson County Library and the collection system mostly is to occupy existing rights of way.

The estimated cost was $2.7 million in January 2021, with $1.4 million coming from the state.

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Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached at [email protected]

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