Oroville asks county to encourage eastside sewer hook-ups

OROVILLE – The Oroville City Council approved a letter to the county commissioners asking them to encourage connection to the Eastside Sewer Project.

“In the proposed letter we ask that if the existing development is within 300 feet of the sewer line that they investigate the current septic system,” said Chris Branch, director of Oroville’s Department of Economic and Community Development at the council’s Tuesday, April 4 meeting.

“The rest would be encouraged to connect,” said Branch, adding that state puts the minimum at 200 feet.

The county has been discussing methods to pay back the Public Works Trust Fund loan used to construct the system, which serves residences and developments north of Oroville on the east side of Lake Osoyoos.

“The county has been talking about a variety of methods, including doing an LID (Local Improvement District),” said Branch. “There are also methods for low to moderate income people to do a direct benefit grant.”

Mayor Chuck Spieth said, “This is our opportunity to make our needs known.”

Councilman Tony Koepke made a motion to send the letter to the county commissioner and it was seconded by Councilman Jon Neal and approved.

“There was a lot of outstanding debt load that the county took on with Veranda Beach Resort yet the county is not doing enough to resolve it,” said Branch, who added that the county hasn’t any policies in place to drive the decision to hook up to the new sewer system.

Oroville wants to make improvements to the North End Water System, a system that the city took on from a local water district over two decades ago. The system is located outside of the city limits and serves people living north of town on the west side of the lake. The aging system needs about $6.25 million to upgrade it all, according to Rod Noel, Superintendent of Public Works.

Noel informed the council of Community Development Block Grant monies that have recently become available. He recommended the city apply for $3,088,000, or about half the cost of the improvements from the CDBG.

“There are a lot of leaks going on, with water losses of about 48 percent,” said Noel, who added that the city has located two of the biggest leaks.

“It’s just an inferior system, the pipe used was not designed for a domestic water system,” said Noel.

City Clerk Kathy Jones recommended the city try for a grant.

“I think we really should explore the grant, the message from the federal government is that the CDBG money is going away, although it does have a 20 year repayment, not 30.”

Branch said the city could look at the priorities in the water system for repair or replacement first and if the money dries up the city crew might fix the rest a little at a time.

The council approved hiring Water Recovery Services to rehabilitate Well #4 using liquid carbon dioxide. He said the company has provided references from satisfied customers who have used the service and that he talked with Bill Pilkinton, Tonasket Superintendent of Public Works, about the successful treatment the of one of their wells.

“Bill Pilkinton said they had a well that had almost lost all its production and now they get close to 200 gallons a minute,” Noel said, adding, “Like everything, there are no guarantees but this is the first step. I think it is a cost effective way to get the well back into production.”

Tina Janowicz appeared before the council to discuss the annual Run for the Border charity fundraising motorcycle ride that goes from Wenatchee to Oroville. The event, sponsored by the Columbia River Harley Owners Group, will take place on Saturday, March 21 to coincide with Armed Services Day. Janowicz asked that the parking area on the east side of Main Street, from Appleway to Central, be coned off for riders and their bikes, which have numbered upwards of 300 in past years. She also asked that Appleway, between Main and Golden be reserved for “Sturgis-style” parking.

“I’d like to see the police escort us into town like we have in past years if it is at all possible,” Janowicz said. “The riders should arrive in Oroville around 12:30 to 1 p.m.

Money raised this year will go toward Give Naked, a foundation that uses 100 percent of the donations it receives to “fill an urgent need of a specific individual or family.”

Janowicz said, “They give directly to things like the Chelan Valley Foundation. They have given money to people who need money for rent or power throughout the northwest and the money stays locally… they’ve been in existence for about two years now,” she said.