According to North Bend Municipal Code, all new structures built [for human occupancy] have to be hooked to the city’s sewer system. It’s something some landowners say can put a damper on selling small potential building lots in North Bend.
In spring 2015, when Si View Parks (in partnership with the City of North Bend) was finishing up building Tollgate Farm Park along West North Bend Way on city-owned land, it was economically infeasible to construct a sewer line extension when it became clear sewer service would not be available near the park’s restrooms.
Si View Parks Executive Director Travis Stombaugh explained while planning the new park, it was anticipated that sewer service would be available near the park at the time of construction or soon after. But that didn’t happen – and according to a summary statement in the January 5th North Bend City Council agenda, a 2/3 mile sewer line connection to the closest main would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Last spring, Si View instead installed a septic vault for the park’s restrooms in anticipation of sewer service that now appears to be about five years out.
The park opened and has been popular – and the bathrooms are used more than the park district anticipated. That means the septic vault, at a cost of several thousand dollars per week, is emptied, hauled away and discharged at wastewater treatment plants in Tukwila and Everett.
So in Fall of 2015, Si View Parks District asked the City of North Bend to allow them to decommission the septic vault and install a septic drain field to save on the expensive sewer treatment costs.
Stombaugh stated via email, “When comparing the cost of pump & transport vs the cost of installing a drain field, we would have a return on our investment in less than two years. The installation makes financial sense and saves the taxpayers money.”
BUT… per current North Bend Municipal Code (NBMC), connection to public sewer is required for new structures in North Bend. In order for the drain field to be constructed, the municipal code had to be amended first – something the North Bend City Council did on January 5th upon recommendation from the Transportation and Public Works Committee.
The NBMC 13.36.020 amendment allows an onsite septic drain field when the following conditions are met:
- The septic drain field shall be located on a lot greater than or equal to 10 acres in area
- The septic drain field design shall be approved by King County Health Department
- The septic drain field shall be located on publicly owned property, and shall be publicly operated and maintained.
Stombaugh made it clear, though, that once sewer service is available in the vicinity of Tollgate Farm Park, the restrooms will be hooked to city’s sewer system.