Oak Harbor City Council declines to pare sewer plant sites

The Oak Harbor City Council recently backed off from a proposal that would have narrowed the number of sites under consideration for a new wastewater treatment plant to just three possibilities.

Carollo, the national engineering firm the city hired as a consultant for the project, has been working for more than a year to come up with a location. They have already successfully pruned a list of more than 20 sites to five and hoped to reduce it even further to just three.

However, following a presentation by a representative from the firm on how the finalists were selected, City Councilman Bob Severns made it clear he wasn’t yet ready to endorse any of the proposed sites.

“I’m not very excited about any of the locations,” Severns said.

The five sites being considered include: Windjammer Park, the Oak Harbor Marina, the old city shops at the northern end of City Beach Street, Beachview Farm, which is more commonly known as Fakkema Farm and located just outside the city’s western boundary, and Navy property located behind the existing lagoon site on Crescent Harbor.

Carollo’s proposal Tuesday was to drop Beachview Farm and the marina from further consideration. According to Brian Matson, a partner with Carollo, the decision was made based on an evaluation of technical, financial, environmental and social strengths and weaknesses and on public input.

The firm also suggested the city only consider building a plant that utilized membrane bio-reactor technology rather than more activated sludge, the treatment method currently in use at the city’s plant on the Seaplane Base. The former is more effective and takes up less space but at greater cost.

Finally, Oak Harbor Bay was proposed as the location of the new plant’s treated effluent outfall. West Beach and Crescent Harbor were also looked at but Carollo is recommending against them largely for cost reasons.

Severns said he was leaning toward membrane bio-reactor technology but still wasn’t convinced. He said he needed more time to make a decision. Also, councilmen Rick Almberg and Jim Campbell were both on excused absences and Severns said the entire council should be there to make the decision.

He recommended the issue be tabled until after Thanksgiving and it was unanimously approved.


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