New dump site set for Sedgwick station

RVers looking for a free place to empty their waste tanks will have to wait a while longer — although Port Orchard has finally signed an agreement to put a new RV dump station at a gas station near the Sedgwick interchange, the project likely won’t be completed until the end of summer.

About two years ago, when the city and Karcher Creek Sewer District found out they were going to lose the RV dump station on Mitchell Avenue when construction started on the new low-income retirement facility planned for the site, they started looking for a new spot to build one.

A year ago, Karcher officials narrowed the list down to one location — behind the Sedgwick 76 on Sedgwick Road just north of State Route 16.

Even though the property and gas station owners were willing, the contract didn’t get signed until earlier this month. By that point, construction on the Karcher Creek Sewage Treatment Plant expansion was underway and the city’s only other dump site, located in front of the plant, was gone as well.

“I don’t think the city ever does a contract very fast,” said plant manager Dick Fitzwater.

Fitzwater, who handled most of the search for a new facility, expressed relief the contract has finally been signed.

The gas station was “the only site available,” he said. Other potential sites — South Kitsap Community Park, the Eagles’ lodge on Jackson Avenue and the commercial corridor on Bethel Road — had fallen through one after another for various reasons. Some, like the first site proposed for the park, had access issues and others — the second park site and the Eagles site — fell victim to heavy demands from the property owners.

Fitzwater said the sewer district had even gone so far as to draft up a site designing for the Eagles’ lodge when club officials torpedoed the deal by insisting on extra paving and control over the station’s hours of operation.

Other potential locations didn’t even get that far.

“We approached Wal-Mart and they just flat didn’t want one,” Fitzwater said.

The 76 site, whoever, appeared ideal — it was near the highway, had no access issues and could potentially boost business at the site. In addition, the site was also potentially safer than other sites proposed; Fitzwater said station users often spill the waste they’re pumping into the disposal pipe and, without good control measures, the mess can easily run off the site into nearby waterways. The station at the treatment plant, he said, was notorious for spillage problems.

Because the gas station is already set up to contain spills, either from the pumps or from the car wash, there’s less chance of sewage seeping into the surrounding land and water.

Ed Stone, who owns the gas station, said he had already agreed to use his employees to clean up spills and maintain the site as needed. He is enthusiastic about the dump station and said whatever minor inconvenience it might cause is vastly outweighed by the potential benefits.

“It’s so competitive in our business, so anything you find that’s new is something to look for,” Stone said, adding: “It’s always good to see big motor homes pulling in.”

The station, which essentially consists of a public access point to the nearest municipal sewer line, plus water for washing and rinsing purposes, is expected to cost between $10,000 and $15,000 to install. The construction contract, which is being handled by the city, will be bid out sometime in the next few weeks; the costs will be borne by the treatment plant’s budget, which is funded equally by the city and Karcher Creek Sewer District.

For the time being, RV owners looking for alternative dump sites can go to Manchester State Park, which charges $5 per vehicle, or to the dump site at the Bremerton Treatment Plant, which is free.

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