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So, where will the sewage go?

Sometime this fall, Freeland property owners should have a good idea how much they might pay for sewer service.

The price figures are coming closer to being a real thing because the Freeland Sub-Area Planning committee and Island County engineers are about to select what sort of treatment and discharge systems they want in a proposed Freeland sewer.

"Residents will start seeing real numbers in mid-September," said Jeff Tate, Island County planner.

This spring, committee members put their support behind the septic tank effluent pumping, or STEP, system, with which property owners could maintain their septic tanks for solids, pumping only liquid wastes to a treatment facility.

At the committee's next meeting, scheduled for July 24, county engineers will present alternatives for treatment and discharge to the public.

Thus far, estimates for single sewer hookups have ranged between $25,000 and $40,000, but Tate cautions the final numbers aren't really tallied yet.

"And when they are, they will include maintenance and operation of the system over 20 years," Tate said.

What won't be included in the figures is the amount of money the county expects to receive in grants.

During the July 24 meeting, the committee will also discuss where sewage could be treated, whether at the Holmes Harbor Sewer District plant or at a new facility built in Freeland. Tate said building a new plant may be a better option.

"It was surprising to us, but using the Holmes Harbor plant may turn out to be more expensive than a constructing a separate plant," he said.

Later in the planning process, Island County needs to decide where treated effluent will be discharged, whether onto land or into a manmade wetland.

Currently, three separate areas are being considered: 110 acres of agricultural land on Highway 525 and Cameron Roads; a portion of a 740-acres parcel between Bush Point Road and Highway 525; and acreage in the Holmes Harbor area.

Tate said the agricultural land is probably the most attractive site a this time.

According to Tate water discharged on land is treated to a higher standard than if it is pumped into Puget Sound. At the May meeting of the sub-area committee, committee members agreed unanimously that a sewage outfall into Puget Sound is not an option.

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