OLYMPIA - Homeowners in the Woodland Creek Estates and Covington Place neighborhoods of Thurston County will benefit from a grant awarded to the county by the state Department of Commerce. The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) of $767,412 will relieve the financial burden of sewer connection fees for eligible low-to-moderate income households in the project area. -30-
The project -conversion of on-site septic systems to a public sewer system- will reduce fecal coliform bacteria and nitrate pollution into Woodland Creek and Henderson Inlet. The total cost for the project has not been finalized, but is estimated at about $5.9 million.
Thurston County Commission Chair Karen Valenzuela says the best news is that the cost for the owners of the 128 septic systems is now more affordable than ever. "Initial estimates for the project were about $8.5 million. Thanks to hard work by county staff, we've slashed about $3 million from the total estimated costs. And thanks to design changes and grants like this one from Commerce, we've also been able to dramatically cut the original costs to residents for hook-up fees." Valenzuela says credit should also be given to the City of Lacey, LOTT and the state departments of Health and Ecology for their cooperation.
"We're not through looking for ways to further cut costs for residents and the county for this project," says Public Works planner Roger Giebelhaus. He describes the CDBG grant as a big win for the eligible homes in Woodland Creek and Covington Place neighborhoods because it will pay for all sewer project related construction and design costs. That means residents will only be responsible for their monthly sewer bill. "The CDBG grant makes sewer conversion affordable while improving water quality for Woodland Creek and Henderson Inlet. It's a matter of public health and safety which is a priority for the county commissioners and for all of us."
Construction is expected to begin late this year and the project may be finished by early 2014.Project information is available at www.co.thurston.wa.us/publicworks/woodland.htm and http://woodlandcreekproject.blogspot.com/