County and city tussle over sewer service

By Dennis Box-The Courier-Herald

The Pierce County Council has approved a measure to provide sewer services for the Cascadia subdivision and it has caused some concern for Bonney Lake city officials.

The Cascadia Corporation has been planning a 6,500-home development south of the city off 195th Avenue East for more than 14 years.

Developers had an agreement with the city of Orting for sewer services. Cascadia's engineers encountered problems in December 2006 when drilling beneath the Carbon River, which is how they were going to connect to Orting's treatment plant.

County officials stepped in and negotiated a deal with the developer to provide sewer services, relieving Orting of the obligation.

The County Council approved the plan after Councilman Shawn Bunney inserted an amendment stating the county would work with Bonney Lake concerning the service.

“We (Pierce County) have an obligation under the Growth Management Act to provide sewer services to a growing area on the Plateau,” Bunney said. “We have language (in the sewer service measure) that we will look at land use and other issues together (with Bonney Lake).”

Bunney said short-term the county will help Cascadia, and Bonney Lake will still be in a position to negotiate for the services later

City representatives have made it clear to county officials they believe Bonney Lake should be the sewer service provider in the area.

“I'm not happy with the county,” Mayor Neil Johnson said. “We are the sewer service provider for the area. We want to keep the rates down for our citizens and eventually we will have to serve these areas outside our city.”

Johnson said the city will work with the county to come to settle who will provide sewer services for the entire south Plateau region.

Plateau 465, a planned 3,000-home development near Cascadia, is in the city's sewer service area. Falling Water wants to become part of the city's urban growth area allowing the development to hook to the city's sewer service.

Bonney Lake officials are hoping a sewer membrane plant could be constructed that would serve the entire southern Plateau, including Cascadia.

Dennis Box can be reached at

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