IN AN EXCLUSIVE TO THE YELM COMMUNITY BLOG:
Yelm citizen Pam Paiz submitted the following letter to the Department of Health for their recent increase to the number connections to Yelm’s water system to add more single-family homes.
Bonnie Waybright, PE
Assistant Regional Manager
Washington State Department of Health
Southwest Drinking Water Operations
Dear Ms. Waybright,
I read the response you sent to the Yelm Community Blog on the Yelm water issue.
I am absolutely baffled by the way Dept of Health and the Dept of Ecology are treating the City of Yelm, or I should say how susceptible the two agencies are to Yelms lobbying efforts.
Yelm’s city government has a documented track record of not protecting the public’s interests:
their treatment of citizens, public process, honest and transparent decision-making are sorely lacking. However, I have to admit they are great lobbyists.
Otherwise, how they can convince the WA. Department of Transportation to build a road to nowhere, convince the Dept of Ecology to look the other way when they over pump their water rights allocation, and now convince the Dept of Health to add to the April 23rd moratorium on the number of additional water connections. I am in awe of Yelms lobbying!
However, here is the problem that I see with Healths decision:
it was based on the citys conservation savings,
past consumption data,
water right limitation,
and physical capacity limitations.
What is the problem?
1. Yelm has no approved water system plan & has been operating without a water system plan since September, 2008;
2. Yelm only recently instituted a conservation planis it working? It will take about a year of data to determine;
3. The past consumption data will be usurped by new conservation measures, maybe;
4. Yelm has a water rights limitation surpassed in 2009, with de facto permission from Ecology.
Here is another problem with Healths decision (and Ecologys non decisions). What you have done is bought into Yelms modus-operandi to not protect the public’s interests. Citizens have tried so hard to be part of the process to build a vital, environmentally safe, and active community. Yelms mayor & City Council continually block those efforts and your decision (and Ecologys non-decision) has further alienated community participation. What is the use in public participation if Health and Ecology do not require Yelm to do the right thing. That is the essence of the very relationship between Yelm and its citizenry, and thus trust is nonexistent.
In 2005, a concerned citizen asked the city council to create a moratorium on issuing building permits until the city gets a handle on environmental protection, water quality and quantity, traffic, safety, etc. The councils response was to prohibit the word moratorium from ever being spoken at city council meetings. Seems like they have prohibited you from deciding on using the word moratorium also.
Shame on you and the Dept of Ecology for not doing the right thing.
cc: Keith Philips, Governors Office
Ted Sturdevant, Director of Ecology
Mary Selecky, Director of Health