County commissioners sign sewer agreement

Backhoes aren’t lined up to dig the first trench, but the Carlsborg sewer project is inching closer to laying pipes.

Clallam County must have a completed plan to provide Carlsborg with sewer services, otherwise the Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board will not lift the label of invalidity it put on the area’s zoning in April. While the growth area is labeled invalid, the county is limited in its ability to allow certain types of land uses in the zone.

To get the project moving, the Clallam County commissioners signed an agreement with the Clallam County Public Utility District June 24, earlier than initially expected. PUD commissioners Hugh Haffner, Will Purser and Ted Simpson signed their end of the agreement during their regularly scheduled meeting on June 30.

The agencies hired a consultant in 2006 to complete a feasibility study for the sewer project, laying much of the framework for the next steps, which include identifying population projections, likely zoning, the layout and design of the hardware and how to pay for it.

The feasibility study identified many alternatives for the sewer to determine if the project was possible. Now the county and PUD are likely to hire a consultant to nail down those ideas into a draft Sewer Facility Plan, a document required in state code for construction and by agencies with available grants.

“All of these steps are needed to qualify for grants, whether through a public works trust fund or through the Puget Sound Partnership, this sewer project meets a lot of qualifiers of restoring the sound,” County Commissioner Steve Tharinger said. “It will better deal with sewage, water quality, include a reuse system and will help manage and increase flows in the Dungeness River and will be a huge factor in economic development.”

Presently, Carlsborg homes and commercial structures depend on septic systems, many of which have been found to be failing.

The county commissioners could abandon the urban growth area label on Carlsborg and define the semi-developed area as rural county. But the three county leaders unanimously backed the need to facilitate and maintain the growth area and its associated sewer.

The project’s new push is part of phase two. The second phase is being funded jointly by the county, with a $45,500 grant from a state Department of Community Trade and Economic Development, and the PUD, with $74,497 in state Department of Ecology grant dollars.

Funding for the sewer itself, rather than its plan, is still to be determined. There is likely to be a mixture of contributing revenues including grants, loans and assessments to benefiting landowners.

The county- and PUD-hired consultant will create a benefit study to determine how much each parcel of land will benefit from the start-up sewer line. It is likely to be the basis of how the PUD will charge customers in a yet-to-be-defined local utility district. Preliminary estimates put the price of completing a sewer system at $13 million.

Then, with assessments identified, grants and loans lined up and with population and zoning projections in place, the consultant will create a document to carry the plan into phase three. Phase three finalizes details of the project and sets up the mechanisms for the sewer’s installation.

While the county has until Oct. 13 to make Carlsborg compliant with the growth board’s order, the sewer plan likely will not be finished. But, planning staff indicated if the county is taking significant steps toward completion, the board may award more time.

The project’s construction could start as early as next year if the facility plan is completed in time, which would mean service could start as early as 2011. However, to get the label of invalidity lifted, the county only will need a finalized plan and not a pipe in the ground.

For future Clallam County Commissioner agendas and meeting dates, visit To find out more about the Clallam County Public Utility District Commission, visit its Web site at

The next steps needed for a finalized Carlsborg sewer plan include:

• Clallam County Public Utility District’s approval of the county agreement

• Comprehensive Plan, with land use and population projections

• General Sewer Plan, with projected flows, treatment and disposal

• Conceptual Special Benefit Study, evaluates property benefit for assessment

• Hydrogeological Study, environmental review and water right acquisition

• Funding Program, with benefit assessments, grants and loans

• Zoning what development will be allowed after installation

• Local Utility District formation to assess benefiting properties

• Facilities Plan, finalized plan incorporating all other facets into recommendation

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the Oct 20
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates