Regional wastewater study to review additional options

Published on Fri, Feb 16, 2001 by Soren Velice

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Regional wastewater study to review additional options

By Soren Velice

Although they’ve been expecting it for weeks, the feasibility study commissioned by Blaine and the Birch Bay Water and Sewer District to help determine whether or not to merge is still a few weeks over the horizon.

“There was some discussion that there needs to be more alternatives for the city,” BBWSD general manager Roger Brown said. “The study wasn’t originally to do that.”

Upon review of the draft, city manager Gary Tomsic and public works director Grant Stewart determined the study should examine other options in order to compare alternatives and determine which option is best for the city.

“It’s important to have somewhere to turn if things don’t work out,” Stewart said. “Besides, environmental review requires you to look at alternatives to make sure you’re doing the right thing, so it’s environmental as well as financial.” Stewart said other options to analyze include exporting waste to Canada by way of the greater Vancouver regional district, building a plant at Dakota or California Creek or one at the top of Semiahmoo hill that would use the current discharge at the end of the spit.
With regard to funding, the feasibility study’s main focus, Brown and Stewart said while the study does describe ways to seek federal funding for the project, the study is in too early a stage to release specifics. “There’s no certainty of success,” Stewart said, “but we’re going to beg for some money; I’m optimistic – it helps me do my job.” Brown said he thought the city and district would be able to release more information in early March.

A more concrete move that will increase BBWSD’s output is the district’s contract with Arco, which purchased a capacity of 30,000 gallons per day. “They wouldn’t necessarily use it all,”Brown said. “There could be days they’d use more, and that’s addressed in the contract.”

He said the capacity will cost Arco $285,510 for the connection, in addition to about $3,140 per month for its share of variable operating costs and a rate of $.9772 per 1,000 gallons, or about $11,000 a year, for treatment. “They’re paying all costs for of construction for improvements and the procedure of the Boundary Review Board incurred for the project,” Brown said.

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