Treatment plant cost is climbing

By Kevin Hanson, The Courier-Herald

Enumclaw's planned expansion of its sewage-treatment plant will cost more than originally planned, and will take longer to complete than city staff had hoped.

That was the word issued last week by Chris Searcy, public works director, as he delivered an information-only report to members of the Enumclaw City Council.

The price tag for an upgrade and expansion to the plant has been pegged at about $16 million, but that figure has been scrapped, Searcy said. In a written report, Searcy said, "Design changes, inflation and significant increases in certain material costs, such as steel and electrical components, will result in a more expensive construction cost than previously estimated."

When queried by council members, Searcy said, "we're now in the $18 million category."

The city now has cash reserves in the sewer fund of about $1.8 million. Additionally, the city has secured a low-interest loan from the state's Public Works Trust Fund in the amount of $9.25 million; that will have to be repaid at an interest rate of one-half of 1 percent.

The city has applied for another PWTF loan, this time for $10 million, but is also looking at other ways of raising money. Higher rates for city customers are part of the mix.

Searcy said he anticipates bringing a detailed account of the anticipated budget to the council in July.

One item that has caused a delay, and could help bump up the budget, was the determination that all the land immediately to the north of the treatment plant is wetland. The city plans to use the land in its expansion project and, to meet environmental regulations, will have to develop a mitigation plan.

Kevin Hanson can be reached at

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