June 12, 2000
DUVALL--An emergency building moratorium, passed by the City Council a year ago due to limited capacity of the sewage treatment plant, will be extended at least another six months, according to Public Works Director Elizabeth Goode. The moratorium affected new applications only, and did not include development or building applications already on file with the city.
At last week's council meeting, Mayor Glen Kuntz instructed staff to set a public hearing on the six-month moratorium within 60 days. Goode said there have been some complaints from property owners about the moratorium, and one lawsuit, but that most understand the need of the city to expand the plant.
"The city needs to protect the water quality of the river and comply with the TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Loading) of the river," Goode said. "The TMDL takes in everything going into the river, including non-point pollution such as that from farms, sludge application to trees by Metro, and anything else."
Goode said the Department of Ecology is currently studying the situation. "To satisfy Ecology, the city needs to modify the sewer outfall so it will perform better--that will improve water quality," she said. "We are trying for this summer, but it will probably be done next year."
Goode said the city has also hired a consultant, who concluded the treatment plant can perform better than it is rated, which the DOE is reviewing. "On the rating, we are hoping to hear from Ecology, but even if that is approved, it will take six months," she said. "We are also planning for plant expansion that will satisfy the population in the current urban growth area set in the 1994 Comp Plan. We are not looking to expand beyond that."
Goode said a plant expansion will take four to five years to complete, "if and when we get the money and the permitting."