News

State rules delay water

By Kevin Hanson-The Courier-Herald

The much-anticipated marriage

of the Enumclaw municipal

water supply and the beleagured

Y Bar S water system

encountered a bureaucratic

roadblock, but remains on track

to be completed this fall.

Residents of Y Bar S and the

adjoining Highland Estates

have been encouraging the city,

for years, to take over their

water system. During the past

year or so, Y Bar S residents

were twice warned to boil their

water before drinking it, due to

e.coli contamination fears.

For their part, city officials

were receptive. City council

members finally gave their goahead,

after a funding package

was devised that protected

existing city water customers.

The council wanted guarantees

that current users would not

take a financial hit if the Y Bar S

system failed after the city took

ownership.

In July, the council authorized

Mayor John Wise to enter

into a purchase agreement with

Bliss Industries, the owner

of the Y Bar S system. As of

Friday, an agreement was in

place although final papers had

not been signed, according to

Public Works Director Chris

Searcy. The city is paying about

$140,000 for the water-supply

system, Searcy reported.

The city was set to proceed

and a vocal majority of Y Bar

S residents had applauded the

governmental process, but an

Olympia-issued decree put a

crimp in the plan.

Early in her term, Gov. Chris

Gregoire had mandated that

any project using state funds

be subject to a cultural and

architectural review. The city

had dealt with the same order

during the beginning stages of

the ongoing wastewater treatment

plant project.

Searcy said plans for Y

Bar S are on hold while the

state performs its review. The

Department of Health, because

it is the agency administering

the loan money, has contacted

tribes in the area, seeking their

input.

Assuming the new hurdle

is easily cleared, work could

begin in October to connect

the city water system to Y Bar

S, Searcy said.

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