Treatment plant dedication set

With 145 new homes expected to put further demands on Port Orchard’s sewer and water lines this year, the dedication of the new wastewater treatment plant on Saturday is being hailed as an important step to future growth.

Officials from the city and Karcher Creek Sewer District will cut the ribbon and dedicate the new jointly owned facility expansion which took eight years to complete, at a price tag of $23 million.

The project expands wastewater capacity from 2.8 million gallons to 4.2 million gallons per day. It also introduces new technology to use reclaimed water for the city’s parks and golf courses.

Maher Abed, public works director for Port Orchard, said the plant will enable the city to keep up with current demand and to comply with requirements of the state Department of Ecology in providing additional treatment to wastewater.

“There is a lot of future growth in the city,” Abed said. “We’re going through our sub-area planning right now. We’re going to have to incorporate areas that are annexed over time into the city and there will be additional connections put into that system.”

The Karcher Creek facility currently serves residents of Port Orchard as well as unincorporated areas outside the city limits, such as McCormick Woods. The upgrade project was launched to upgrade capacity and infrastructure that, in some instances, dated back to the 1940s.

Sewer district officials say the plant also discharges about 1.5 million gallons of runoff into Sinclair Inlet each day.

The new technology enables the plant to pump that water into a special pipe system that can be used to irrigate sports fields and parks. Although it will take several years to design and complete that system, a pilot project to irrigate a portion of Veteran’s Park is being set up.

“This facility gives us a higher level of treatment,” said Port Orchard Mayor Kim Abel. “It’s good for us on a couple of different levels. It puts us in a position where we’re ready for growth, and it’s good for the environment.”

The city of Port Orchard owns the facility, and Karcher Creek Sewer District manages it. Funding for the expansion came from a small interest loan from the Public Works Trust Fund as well as joint funding from the two entities.

The city and district will recoup costs through connection fees, Abed said.

Among the improvements to the facility include a new electronic microscope, new basin covers and an improved air cleansing system. The latter will help eliminate many of the odors associated with wastewater treatment.

The facility at 1165 Beach Drive currently serves 2,579 single-family homes, 1,361 multi-family units and 974 commercial units. Family dwellings are charged a monthly flat rate of $36, while businesses are charged usage based on the previous winter’s water meter readings.

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