The sound of flushing toilets in the new year will be music to the ears of Catherine Billera.
“It will be lovely when the restrooms are back again,” said Billera, president of the group which oversees Clinton Community Hall.
The popular meeting space for forums, dances and private parties is currently suffering from a common Whidbey woe — septic system shutdown.
The 65-year-old septic system failed in early December. It needs to be replaced with new drain fields, lines and tanks, a project estimated from bids to cost about $15,000.
“We were having it inspected and it was found to be failing,” said Billera, president of the Clinton Progressive Association. Tanks and pipes were disintegrating and the drain field couldn’t be assessed because it had been paved over with the parking lot.
“It’s old and there’s no way to get to it so a new location for a drain field has been found,” she said.
The Clinton Progressive Association is a nonprofit, community-supported organization that owns and manages the Clinton Community Hall. It’s launched a fundraising campaign to replace the septic system, including a GoFundMe page, which has raised about $4,000 to date.
The popular meeting and event space remains open for scheduled functions, but its kitchen and restrooms are off limits.
Two portable toilets placed outside are adequate for some functions but not for wedding receptions and other fancier affairs.
“We had some cancellations, such as holiday parties, but overall the community has been incredibly supportive,” Billera added.
A contra dance and library sale will go on as scheduled Saturday.
If there are more cancellations, it could result in a significant loss of operating revenue, according to the group. The hall, which holds more than 200 people, rents for $80 for two hours, $140 for four hours and $220 for the day.
“The county health department has signed off on the plan,” Billera said, “so now we’re trying to raise $15,000 and hope that covers everything that needs to be done.”