With regard to offering Langley wastewater treatment capacity to assist Freeland, there is much to be considered and I hope Langley leaders will proceed very cautiously. There are two issues that immediately come to mind:
First, the Langley treatment plant is required by Washington State to have what is known as “reserve capacity.” Reserve capacity allows for future growth based on the “medium population growth rate” within the Langley Urban Growth Area (UGA), according to Langley’s “2015 General Sewer System Plan.” The plant is currently operating at 50 percent capacity. Per the current sewer system plan, in 17 years, the projected flows within Langley city limits will be at 70 percent. However, the plant is required to maintain a 20 percent reserve capacity. When the plant is operating at 80 percent capacity, meaning within 20 percent of its maximum capacity, it is required by Washington State to add capacity. And as Freeland is finding out, capacity is very, very expensive. The Langley treatment plant most assuredly does not have the capacity to handle twice its current load without significant investment by Langley ratepayers to build out capacity or potentially upgrade the plant to a completely new design.
The second issue is that there are significant areas within Langley city limits that are currently not serviced by sewers. Langley city leaders must be sure that these unserved areas within the UGA are considered before giving away current capacity to serve others outside the UGA.
I encourage everyone to seek out the “2015 General Sewer System Plan.” And I look forward to reading the Pace Engineering report referred to in the article when it is posted. These are very important documents, and all Langley citizens should read them and pay close attention.