- Editor’s note: While the city is intending to gain more water rights for “additional housing and new industries to move in,” where is the plan to raise the “estimated $27 Million overhaul to manage current and future demand” on Yelm’s Public Works water/sewer systems? Until the Public Works systems are updated, the ability for the city to add many more housing connections plus attracting industries is VERY limited! Why would any industry invest in Yelm with the affects of 10 years of deferred maintenance on the public water/sewer infrastructure mounting everyday?
The City of Yelm says, “Yelm Leads the Way in Statewide Water Mitigation Strategies.” – But!
“‘Our economic development is at a standstill without additional water rights and the cost to repair our aging infrastructure will be born on the backs of our current residents,’ Grayum told the Task Force. ‘That’s highly unfair considering most of the current rate payers are residential customers. We need to diversify our tax base but we can’t do that without additional water rights.'”
“In a 2015 Washington Supreme Court ruling, known as the “Foster Decision,” the Supreme Court rejected the Washington State Department of Ecology’s (WDOE) decision to grant new water rights to the City. The decision revoked the previously granted rights which has contributed to utility rate increases by preventing additional housing and industry in our area.”
Over a three-year period, the City has replaced many components to keep the current facility functional, including the system control software, distribution system, and eliminated single points of failure but still requires an estimated $27 Million overhaul to manage current and future demand. The City is exploring a variety of options to renovate the facility while keeping utility rates as low as possible for the citizens and businesses of Yelm. Options include a widely used Membrane Bioreactor system, and advocating for State Funding and allow Yelm to be a leader for other innovative treatment options including ceramics and algae.”
“The City is on track to submit the water rights application to the WDOE by the end of 2019 which is anticipated to be the first water mitigation pilot to submit an application. If the application is approved, Yelm will regain its water rights and open the door for additional housing and new industries to move in, allowing the City to maintain infrastructure, diversify the tax base, and reduce the impact on existing residents and businesses,” by the City of Yelm. Read more
The Yelm City Council will hear more about the “Water Reclaimed Facility (WRF) timeline and next steps” at their Study Session this evening. Read more
- Bottom line: How can the city add more hook-ups when the infrastructure can’t handle any more? Yelm clearly stated above that the water/sewer system of Public Works, “still requires an estimated $27 Million overhaul to manage current and future demand.”