Last year, the Eastsound Sewer & Water District (ESWD) informed all users of the sewer system of the need to repair, upgrade and expand the existing wastewater facilities in Eastsound. To update everyone, ESWD has moved forward and is nearing completion of design plans for expanding the wastewater treatment plant and upgrading the existing treatment cells.
Washington State Department of Ecology is working with the EPA to develop new regulations and permit limits for nutrient removal in the wastewater effluent discharged from all wastewater treatment plant facilities in the State. Based on the information that is currently available, the Board of Commissioners recognize the need for additional upgrades to meet new regulations that will be mandated. The Wastewater Treatment Plant Project plans were updated to include the additional upgrades.
Phase I of the project includes building a new wastewater treatment cell, biosolids dewatering system, plus electrical and water system upgrades. Phase I will go out to bid in a few months. Phase II will include the rebuilding of the two existing wastewater treatment cells with provisions to meet the new regulations and upgrading to an Ultraviolet Disinfection System. Phase II will go out to bid as soon as Phase I is completed.
ESWD has been working on obtaining grants and forgivable loans to fund the expansion project and has been successful in the award of a $900,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the Department of Transportation. An income survey was conducted in order to establish a median household income for the Eastsound area to determine the economic need for grant funding. ESWD will continue to work on obtaining additional grants and forgivable loans for the Expansion Project but the Board of Commissioners recognize the need to fund future debt service.
Also, during the recent 2022 Budget review, the Board of Commissioners determined that the District has experienced significant increases in the cost of operations including the need for additional staffing. The District has an obligation to meet the increased cost of operations.
This is to notify you that at their regular meeting dated December 14, 2021, the Board of Commissioners passed a Resolution to approve increasing the monthly sewer service rates by $15.00 per Residential Equivalent Unit, ERU. Monies received from the rate increase will be divided between the Eastsound General Fund to meet increasing costs of operation and the Wastewater Treatment Plant Expansion Project Fund to meet future debt service.
The rate increase will be effective February 01, 2022, and will be reflected on your sewer service billing statement dated February 28, 2022. For your information, attached is the Rate Schedule for 2022 showing the new rates per classification of use.
Thank you for your understanding of the need to implement the sewer service rate increase for 2022.