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Carnation wastewater plant breaks ground

Ceremonial construction began on a new wastewater treatment plant in Carnation.

Community members joined Carnation Mayor Bill Paulsen, King County Executive Ron Sims (D-Seattle) and local dignitaries July 6 to break ground on the $30 million Carnation treatment system project. Speakers also included King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert (R-Redmond) and U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Auburn).

"The new wastewater system will create so many opportunities for our community in terms of comprehensive, well-planned growth," Paulsen said. "And it will enhance our quality of life by protecting the environment, including blue-ribbon salmon spawning grounds in the Snoqualmie River."

Also attending the groundbreaking ceremony were state and local elected officials and tribal government representatives; local agency and jurisdiction staff; environmental and community groups; project consultants and contractors; and interested residential and business neighbors.

A handful of individuals protesting Sims, opposing the Critical Areas Ordinance and supporting Initiative 933 (a property rights initiative restricting future regulations on private land) also showed at the event. Carnation-Duvall Police Chief Glenn Merryman told them the venue was a local celebration rather than a forum for protest and two people left to stage their protest across the street.

The city of Carnation contracted with King County in 2002 to build a new treatment plant after county and state health department officials declared the city's failing septic systems a serious public health hazard.

When it comes online in 2008, the new treatment plant will improve the environment, protect groundwater and the Snoqualmie River and allow new homes and businesses to be built within the city's urban growth area.

King County will build the treatment plant and the city of Carnation will build the collection system that will link homes and businesses to the new plant.

The partnership between King County and the city of Carnation also included extensive stakeholder involvement with community groups, environmental groups, elected officials at the local, state and national levels, tribal governments and community members.

The state-of-the-art treatment plant will treat up to 500,000 gallons of wastewater a day with advanced membrane bioreactor technology. The use of membrane bioreactor technology will also allow for expanded use of reclaimed water that can be used for irrigation and wetland enhancement.

Membrane bioreactor systems combine separate clarification, aeration and filtration steps into a simple process using microbes and a membrane filter to clean sewer water. The highly treated water from the treatment plant will be discharged to a wetland in the Chinook Bend Natural Area, which will be beneficial for wildlife habitat.

Officials said they are working to minimize costs to the system's users by getting state and federal grants, low-interest loans and other types financial aid to offset construction costs and reduce rates and fees. Currently, the estimated monthly rate is about $115.

"We're committed to doing everything we can to minimize financial impacts to people converting from septic to sewer," Sims said.

The new treatment plant will serve about 2,000 people in Carnation's urban growth area, with capacity to eventually serve up to 4,000 as the city grows. Current growth forecasts indicate the increased capacity would be needed by about 2017.

The city of Carnation has been working diligently to provide funding options for residents to help keep monthly sewer rates manageable.

A pre-payment option is availabe for Carnation residents to save costs. The deadline for signing up for the reduced-cost pre-payment option is July 31.

Residents who meet income guidelines have until Sept. 18 to sign up for reduced-cost hookups.

To be eligible for the program, residents must meet the Federal Housing of Urban Development Income Guidelines and complete the program and loan application. This option will be provided to eligible residents at a 2.5 percent interest rate over 20 years for a monthly rate of $13. Income Guidelines are on the city's Web site in the section

on CDBG financing,

www.ci.carnation.wa.us.

The city is still offering a lump sum option of $2,502 to pay for approximately 60 percent of the King County Capacity Charge. The lump sum payment will be due in December 2007. Paying the lump sum will reduce sewer rates by $34 per month.

The standard King County capacity charge is increasing to $42 per month in 2007 and expected to be $50 per month in 2008.

For more information or to sign-up, contact Carnation City Hall at (425) 333-4192.

For more information

about the project, visit: http://dnr.metrokc.gov/wtd/carnation/index.htm.

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