Cityunder gun to find solution

Published on Thu, Mar 11, 2004
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City under gun to find solution

Under the terms of a recently approved settlement the city of Blaine has three months to find a fix for the municipal sewer system.
On March 8 Blaine city council approved a settlement agreement with the Partnership for Responsible Development and the Point on Semiahmoo homeowners association, ending the last challenge to the city’s sewer permit but locking the city into sewer repairs and environmental protection measures. Two weeks earlier council had approved an almost identical settlement to end a separate appeal from the Nooksack Tribe, challenging the state’s issuance of a permit for the city to run its sewer plant. Both appellants contended the city was not taking aggressive steps to limit pollution of local waters from the sewage treatment plant, citing a capacity shortfall, failing infrastructure and a lagging planning process to address those issues.

Under the settlement the city agrees to complete a general sewer plan within 90 days, clearly identifying the preferred location and secondary treatment technology of a plant to replace the treatment plant of Semiahmoo Spit. Other improvements required for the city’s wastewater system include fixing lift station #1 on Marine Drive to stop overflows into Drayton Harbor and improvements to the Semiahmoo treatment plant to fill the gap while a new plant is built.
The settlement directs the city to expedite repairs to the damaged effluent outfall discharging into Semiahmoo Bay. At the March 8 city council meeting, public works director Steve Banham said the draft permits for the underwater repair were now being reviewed and he expected to submit them within the month. Once permits are approved the city has 90 days under the settlement to fix the outfall.

Finally, the city is directed to work with the state departments of health and ecology to develop solutions to the current shellfish closure in Drayton Harbor, increasing their participation of fecal coliform monitoring in local waters.

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