City council to hear final CWAC recommendation
The Citizens Wastewater Advisory Committee (CWAC) � a group of 10 area citizens evaluating wastewater options for the last six months � will present their final wastewater recommendation to Blaine city council early next week.
CWAC will tell city council to consider locating a new treatment plant on Milhollin Drive (off of Marine Drive) during a work session scheduled for 5:15 p.m. Monday at city hall. �...with the understanding that, to be acceptable, the plant must provide high quality wastewater treatment that would benefit the receiving marine waters, provide a potential supply of reclaimed water freeing potable water supply and possibly enhancing wetlands adjacent to the plant. In addition and, of equal importance, the plant would be designed to have a small footprint, high odor and noise mitigation and become a community amenity designed to enhance Blaine�s livability through pleasing design and the inclusion of educational or interpretative facilities,� the committee stated in a written release.
The committee evaluated 14 alternatives, eventually reaching a consensus two months ago to pursue a treatment project with Canada. However, following response from the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD) that they would not service the Blaine area, CWAC met twice in November and December to consider the best non-Canadian alternative to recommend to city council, deciding on the Milhollin Drive location. Although the alternative selected was not the first choice of all members of the CWAC, it was agreed that it offered the best collective opportunity for Blaine based on the information available and an assessment of community values, affordability and the potential to attract state and federal grant funds, according to public works director Steve Banham.
The CWAC will further recommend that a final decision on the treatment of wastewater flows from west Blaine will be made during the facility planning process. These flows could be conveyed to the Milhollin Drive facility, treated at another smaller facility in west Blaine or they could be conveyed to the Birch Bay Water and Sewer District (BBWSD) in Point Whitehorn.
Recognizing that the Milhollin Drive alternative is dependent on reaching an agreement with the Port of Bellingham, which owns the property on Marine Drive, CWAC has agreed to meet again if the port determines that this option is not feasible. If the CWAC needs to reconvene, they will do so to further explore a west Blaine option, other Marine Drive area options, and an east Blaine commercial/industrial area option and make a recommendation to city council.
CWAC presents its recommendation to the Blaine city council at a work session at 5:45 p.m. on Monday, January 12 at city hall. For more information about the CWAC process and alternatives, log on to www.cityofblaine.com and click current projects or visit the public works office Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. at 1200 Yew Avenue to view materials.