"Clogged sewer line to cost Langley $100,000"
June 25, 2008 · Updated 12:15 PM
"When the owner of the building housing the China City restaurant called the city of Langley late last month to report a backed up sewer, Rick Hill, the city's public works director, thought he didn't have a thing to worry about.The side sewer line that serves the restaurant and several other nearby properties has long been thought by the city to be a private sewer connection. Last week, Hill found out the city was wrong. One hundred thousand dollars wrong.We, in fact, are responsible for that sewer line, Hill told the Langley City Council during the body's regular meeting on Aug. 2.A little research proved that the 36-year-old line does actually belong to the city. Using a special camera designed to examine the interior of sewer lines, Hill said he and the company that operates the camera discovered that the line was choked with grease and has a low spot that accumulates water. The camera company flushed the grease from the line, temporarily restoring sewer service to China City and the old Cascade Motel.In about three months, that grease clog will be back, Hill said, which will cost the city about $800 to clear away. Unless the line is replaced, the city can expect to pony up that amount four times a year. With that in mind, Hill told council members that the better bet in the long run is to replace the line. Several council members winced when he told them the price tag.Between engineering and construction, the new line -- which will never serve more than a dozen customers -- will cost the city $100,000. If the city is lucky, it might get half that amount paid back if and when developers build on vacant lots on Camano and Cascade avenues. Developers are required to pay a portion of the cost for a sewer line when they build new homes or businesses needing city sewer.We could recover about 50 percent of the cost, Hill said.However, those already hooked into the new line will not have to pay a penny for it. The most the city can do is require China City to install grease catchers -- a move that will extend the life of the new line.The council asked that Hill and city engineer Ryan Goodman prepare an engineering report. They did not vote on whether or not to build the new line. Once approved, construction of the new line could start in three months. "