Bathroom Woes, Council Amends City Code for Septic Drain Field at Tollgate Park

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:

  1. The septic drain field shall be located on a lot greater than or equal to 10 acres in area
  2. The septic drain field design shall be approved by King County Health Department
  3. 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.

 

Tollgate Farm Playground. Photo: City of North Bend

Tollgate Farm Playground. Photo: City of North Bend

 

Tollgate Farm Park restrooms under construction in 2014

Final touches of new Tollgate Farm Park will be done in November 2014

 

Comments

  1. If you put in a septic system save money then why waste the money to hook it up to the sewer system till the septic system becomes dilapidated, there’s been cows and critters pooping on that land forever.

  2. I am one of the people effected by this issue. I have a lot of land that has been in my family since 1941. Since the City of North Bend made it illegal to build without sewer, the property is worthless until sewer is ran down Ballarat. King County will not however lower the taxes on the parcel as they say there is no reason you can not build on the land. So, in order to sell the land for $150,000 I or the buyer would have to spend $250,000 (Per the City of North Bend) to bring sewer down the street. It is the only placel in Silver Creek that does not have a septic system, all other houses have septic systems.

  3. I am one of the people effected by this issue. I have a lot of land that has been in my family since 1941. Since the City of North Bend made it illegal to build without sewer, the property is worthless until sewer is ran down Ballarat. King County will not however lower the taxes on the parcel as they say there is no reason you can not build on the land. So, in order to sell the land for $150,000 I or the buyer would have to spend $250,000 (Per the City of North Bend) to bring sewer down the street. It is the only place in Silver Creek that does not have a septic system, all other houses have septic systems.

  4. Did Travis Stombaugh include the $100,000 + two concrete tanks that will now be scrapped and demolished? it’s going to take a little more than two years to recoup that money! See page 52 on the document on the below link under infrastructure.
    http://northbendwa.gov/DocumentCenter/View/5202

  5. Allen Minner says

    It must be nice to be able to change the rules to help yourself out when you need to.

  6. So let me show a different side of this story. Has anyone heard of the Snoqualmie Valley Youth Activity Center? it is out on Boalch Ave by Mt Si Fitness. This land is for youth of the area; Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Campfire Girls to use for camping and hiking.
    Currently they are not allowed to build restrooms by the road because there is no sewer. Now that North Bend amended the code, they will still not be able to build this because it is not owned and maintained by the city. It meets all the other criteria, over 10 acres (25 acres) and has had the septic perk tested, but because it’s not owned by the city they will still not be able to build restrooms. In order to go camping with younger cub scouts and Girl Scouts a restroom is required with water. This would be a great opportunity to have local youth go camping for free locally! Right now when we go camping like Kachess and other state campgrounds there is a fee for the space, plus the cost to get there. To me it appears that the city only amended this code for themselves only!

  7. Where would sewer eventually be extended to that is anywhere near tollgate park? That land all around there is unbuildable. and, now we have a city council member who has/is on the parks commission. Looks like citizens are going to need to start showing up to the meetings more often and hold these clowns accountable.

  8. Ty Allan, thank you for keeping us informed! I appreciate your efforts.

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