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Pierce County Planning $305 Million Expansion To Wastewater Treatment Plant

The work is currently being designed, and construction is expected to last between 2013 and 2016.

Pierce County is planning a big expansion for its wastewater treatment plant in University Place.

Design work is underway for a $305 million expansion, for which construction is expected to take place 2013 to 2016.

Once completed, almost everything at the plant — located near University Place’s southern end — will get an upgrade.

“Essentially, with this expansion, every piece is going to get touched in some way or another,” according to Ryan Dooley, Sewer Utility Project Manager.

Improvements will include:

• .

• Increased odor control.

• The ability to produce more SoundGRO fertilizer.

• Expanded disinfection capacity and new processing equipment.

• New laboratory, operations, maintenance and warehouse facilities.

Project funding comes from a combination of monthly sewer fees, connection charges and grants. The County Council approved a $62 million bond issue, the first of three needed to finance the project.

Pierce County's Sewer Utility provides wastewater management, collection and treatment services to about 252,000 customers who generate an average of 19 million gallons of wastewater per day. By 2020, the volume of wastewater is expected to reach 28 million gallons per day, increasing to 42 million by 2040.

The sewer system serves a 117-square-mile area that includes University Place, Lakewood, DuPont, Steilacoom and a portion of Tacoma. It also serves the unincorporated communities of Parkland, Spanaway, Midland, South Hill and Frederickson.

Dan Carnrite May 24, 2011 at 11:57 PM
I'm curious to know how the $305 million expansion will affect rates for current customers and future customers that may be required to hook up to the system?
Brent Champaco May 25, 2011 at 05:53 PM
Dan, Here is the response I got from Gloria Van Spanckeren with Pierce County today. "A series of rate increases for all customers are proposed to cover the cost of the wastewater treatment plant expansion. The first two increases in 2010 (increase of $3.93/month) and 2011 (increase of $4.54/month) were approved by the County Council and are in effect now. More annual increases are proposed following inflation rates through 2020. Charges for new customers connecting to the County’s sewer system are in two parts. The first part is the connection charge, determined by where in Pierce County the new hook-up is located. This fee is for use of the network of pipes that transports the waste to the treatment plant, and it varies by watershed basin. New connection rates went into effect January 2011 and are not related to the treatment plant expansion project. Existing customers were not affected by the new connection rates. The second fee for new customers connecting to the sewer system is the capacity charge, which is $1,250 regardless of location. This fee is used to increase treatment capacity at the wastewater plant, and does contribute to paying for the $305 million expansion. The capacity charge will remain unchanged for now, but will be increased once the treatment plant expansion is complete." For more information, visit this page: http://www.co.pierce.wa.us/xml/abtus/ourorg/pwu/sewer/Rate_Discussion_Print_Version_FINAL.pdf
Clarence Oxier May 25, 2011 at 08:14 PM
I wonder how long it will take for the county to decide to rob the sewer fund again.Don't worry about the increase in your sewer fees when you can no longer pay the charges,the county will be happy to place a lien on your property.Pierce County will not neglect you.Sometimes when you are curious,bring out some of your previous Property tax statements and pay attention to how much they have changed!If you aren't going to sell your property the increased value has nothing to do with the equasion.
Ken Campbell May 25, 2011 at 10:41 PM
I appreciate them being upfront that there are a number of rate increases already enacted, and a few more `in the pipeline' so to speak! A lot of people must be going to `double flush'...! It would be helpful to know where the 47% increase in flow is coming from...new customers from increased population or forced/voluntary hookups? It would also be helpful to know what impact water conservation efforts by homeowners are having. It would also be helpful to know what percentage (if any) of the flow and capacity is related to storm water. What percentage of the county population is served by the treatment plant, and what percentage is hooked up? We heard of the Tacoma effort regarding side sewer inspection/repair efforts. We recently heard of the costs projected for an upgrade /relocation of side sewers in Fircrest. We recently heard of the mandatory hook up requirements for a portion of Lakewood. Do you know the plans for University Place?? They spoke of aging equipment, increased flow, and new discharge regulations. It is efficient to combine resolution of these requirements at the same time. Go to Pierce County Public Utilities web site. http://www.co.pierce.wa.us/pc/abtus/ourorg/pwu/about/sewermenu.htm
Ken Campbell February 01, 2013 at 01:59 AM
Attending open house on this project in UP tonight. Good turnout!
Ken Campbell February 01, 2013 at 05:07 PM
Attended Open House Thursday evening January 31 to hear an update from the County, the project manager, the engineering firm, and the general contractor - great presentation. The Contractor has a `good neighbor' philosophy and commits to a great relationship!

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