Paving the pump station by the Olympic Discovery Trail is one of the final projects for the Carlsborg Sewer Project. Physical work began in April 2016 and it will cost more than $9 million to finish. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Carlsborg Sewer Project to finish this week

After more than a year under construction, the Carlsborg Sewer Project wraps up this week, Clallam County staff report.

Meggan Uecker, solid waste coordinator for Clallam County, said this week crews with contractor Pacific Civil and Infrastructure will stripe the roads including Carlsborg Road and Business Park Loop, pave the pump station, reroute the Olympic Discovery Trail and pave a portion of Hooker Road south of US Highway 101.

About 85 sites, Uecker said, can begin connecting to the system starting July 5.

They have until December to connect to the system, she said, but county staff are available to help people through the process. If residents do not finish their sewer by December, they’ll have to renew their application and pay the current connection fee of $1,500.

Physical work on the $9.22 million project began in April last year and was deemed “substantially complete” prior to an April 1 deadline this year to obtain a 0.25 percent interest rate on the $10 million state Public Works Trust Fund loan.

The completion means water can travel through piping from the Carlsborg pump station to the City of Sequim via the Dungeness River Bridge over Highway 101 to a collection system at Grant Road and sent to the City of Sequim’s Water Reclamation Facility.

Uecker said they are holding off on saying just how well the project went because county staff are in the assessment process.

“We’re excited it’s done and ready to move into this phase (of completion),” she said.

With the project nearly complete, Uecker said traveling should be easier following the cleanup and a new center turn lane painted along Carlsborg Road.

“With it being unmarked, people were complaining of other folks not knowing where to drive,” she said.

Businesses rebounding

Late last year, several Carlsborg businesses reported having a hard time with the construction detouring traffic away from the area, leading some to cutback on staff hours and days of operation.

Lisa Deese, owner of the Old Post Office Sweets &Gifts, 751 Carlsborg Road, said her business has been “night and day” and “really close to not surviving.”

“It was so dead during the construction but now I’m going to have to kick it into high gear,” she said.

“Now that the construction is over, it’s been amazing. All of my customers are thrilled.”

Val Culp, co-owner of the Old Mill Cafe, 721 Carlsborg Road, previously said they were one of the businesses to cut back on staff hours but they’ve gone back to pre-construction operations.

“It’s definitely a lot better since the road was finished,” she said. “Now that it’s picked up, we’ve got our regular schedule again.”

Michael Dew, owner/general manager of Pioneer Propane, 931 Carlsborg Road, said in the winter construction made it difficult to get in and out of his business. However, his sales representative Stephanie Segle came up with the idea to introduce a loyalty card where after customers buy 50 gallons of propane in a canister for barbecues/RVs they’ll receive five gallons free.

Dew, who opened Pioneer Propane in 2009, said Segle’s idea helped his business stay proactive and the idea was a boost for the business.

Logistics

Uecker said residents who signed up before March 31 paid $500 to connect to the sewer and those who sign up before April 1, 2019, will pay $1,500. Residents who sign up after that will pay $8,000.

“A lot of sites can still connect and with a change in zoning many properties can sub-divide which may create more hook-ups,” she said.

Carlsborg sewer customers will pay a $26 base rate per residential unit and those with meters will pay $8.66 per 100 cubic feet of water used per month and non-metered customers will pay a flat monthly fee of $78.80 per unit.

County officials estimate the average sewer bill to be around $70.

Dew, whose business is right next to the pump station, said he was a supporter of the system early on and signed up when first available.

“It worked for the Romans and it certainly can work for us,” he said.

Culp said she and her husband Larry opted not to connect to the sewer because they spent $40,000 in June 2015 to install new septic tanks at the prompting of the Department of Health.

“I can’t see paying the (connection fee) and paying to decommission the tanks,” she said.

“We’re going to ride it out.”

If the Culps or any homeowners/business owners with functioning septic systems not connected to the sewer system were to sell, the’d have to connect within a year. Newly constructed homes also must connect to the system within a year because new septic tanks are not allowed in the Carlsborg Urban Growth Area.

For more information on the project, contact Uecker at 417-2441 or muecker@co.clallam.wa.us and/or visit www.clallam.net/PublicWorks/CarlsborgSewer.html.

Reach Matthew Nash at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

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