The city of Snohomish has a sewage problem. More than 10 years ago, it began receiving violations from the state under the Clean Water Act for dumping sewage into the Snohomish River. Now, the city must come up with funding to create short- and long-term solutions to the problem. Snohomish residents will see an 11 percent jump in their utility rates unless the funding can be offset with federal grants or through funding in the state’s capital budget.
Rep. Mike Hope, R-Lake Stevens, recently secured $3.5 million for the local project in the House capital budget proposal released April 4. He sent a request to his seatmate and chair of the capital budget, Rep. Hans Dunshee, in January.
“I’m pleased Hans included this critical project in the capital budget – especially during these lean times,” Hope said. “It was so important for the state to help offset the cost of this project, not only for environmental cleanup, but also to remove some of the burden from Snohomish residents.”
The 2009-11 capital budget originally included the sewer project under the Public Works Trust Fund. In the 2010 session, the public works trust fund was used to offset the budget deficit in the general fund. This year’s proposal includes funding for the sewer project under a direct disbursement to the Department of Ecology through the Centennial Clean Water Program.
“The public works trust fund has been a very effective means for local governments to complete important projects in our communities,” Hope said. “With this year’s proposal, the city of Snohomish can move forward on the sewage cleanup and prevent residents from being weighted down with skyrocketing bills in this struggling economy.”
The city’s short-term solution is to install “integrated media” that essentially cordon off and consume the bacteria in the Snohomish River. Eventually, the city wants to divert sewage through the city of Everett, as the city of Marysville has done.
The capital budget proposal was heard publicly today and has been scheduled for a vote by the committee on April 6. The 2011 legislative session is scheduled to adjourn April 24.