Council schedules hearing on sewer extensions

Published on Wed, Aug 12, 2009 by Tara Nelson

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Residents within the Blaine urban growth area (UGA) may soon be able to connect to the city sewer system if the outcome of the next city council meeting is favorable.

In their regular meeting Monday, Blaine City Council agreed make a decision on the issue during their August 24 meeting after listening to testimony from public works director Steve Banham about the environmental impacts of failing or failed septic systems near the city limits along the south end of Drayton Harbor. Banham proposed an  ordinance that would provide an option for property owners to connect to city sewer.

“There are septic tanks close to our city limits that are failing, in some instances, they are very close to the harbor or other water and the likelihood of them being able to find some reasonable solution is very small,” he said. “We think of this as trying to be a good neighbor and good for the environment kind of thing.”

Some council members said they had concerns about the ordinance might be out of compliance with the growth management act because it could encourage growth outside city limits.

Banham said another problem could be that Blaine’s already-high sewer connection fees combined with additional charges for outside connection fees could prove cost-prohibitive for those residents.

“They will be paying some mark-up because they’re not in the city limits,” Banham said. “But we’re trying to make it so it’s reachable for these folks. I’d really like to see them connect just so we don’t have to worry about fecal coliform in Drayton Harbor because it would be one less smoking gun.”