While it is common knowledge septic systems in Carlsborg have gone to pot, it remains unknown if a new sewer system will be constructed or how much it would cost landowners.
The aging infrastructure of the septic tanks - some going back to when the old mill still was in operation 60 years ago -- has led to drinking water contaminated with nitrates, negative impacts to the environmental health of regional watersheds and aquatic life, and put a stop to economic development, said Tom Martin, Clallam County Public Utility District assistant supervisor of water and wastewater.
Since 2007 the PUD has studied the area's sewage challenges and now is forming more concrete plans with cost estimates for the Carlsborg Sewer and Wastewater Treatment and Reuse Project, Martin said.
"That's a moving target," he said of cost estimates.
The cost to landowners will be determined by how much outside funding is obtained before construction, he said.
The estimated $15 million project will get $4 million from Clallam County -- $3 million as a grant and $1 million as a loan, Clallam County senior planner Carol Creasey said.
Officials also are eyeing a $10 million low-interest loan from the Public Works Trust Fund, a grant and loan combination from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and clean water loans through the Washington State Department of Ecology, she said.
The fate of the project itself will be determined by whether or not landowners petition to establish a local utility district (LUD), Martin said.
LUD and PUD
An LUD would allow the PUD to collect assessments on properties to pay for the sewer system, allow owners to borrow money through the PUD at a lower interest rate, and spread the cost of connecting to the sewer over a period of several decades, according to a fact sheet provided by PUD executive communications director Jeff Beaman.
In March, the PUD board of commissioners passed a Resolution of Intent to form an LUD. After a preliminary assessment roll is completed, property owners may petition the PUD to establish the local district.
"If there is no request, we won't move forward on the implementation," Martin said.
Carlsborg was designated an Urban Growth Area (UGA) in 2000 but found noncompliant by the Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board in 2008 because there were no plans for a sewer system.
Creasey said renewing the UGA designation would bring better standards for economic development, greater urban densities and opportunities for growth.
Carlsborg has diverse zoning and the potential to foster economic growth through commercial, industrial and residential developments, she said.
People have told her they missed opportunities to sell their land or expand their business because of restrictions placed on the area by the growth management board, she said.
For example, land parcel boundaries can be moved, but parcels cannot be split, she said.
As summer approaches, staff will focus on getting more specifics to landowners about the need for a sewer system and how it could benefit them, Martin said.
A benefit study will take 20 sample properties, determine how the sewer system could improve each parcel, and use the outcome to develop a formula to calculate the benefit for each affected piece, he said.
For more information, call Carol Creasey at 417-2423 or Tom Martin at 565-3449.
Reach Amanda Winters at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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