Coupeville expands its water service

The town of Coupeville is looking to expand its water service area boundary, ending a moratorium that goes back years.

The expansion follows system improvements that make available more water to town residents and those in outlying areas.

The proposed plan would expand the service area basically from Libby Road to Outlying Field and the border of Admirals Cove.

With expanding the service area, the town is looking to repeal an ordinance prohibiting the sale of water hookups to out-of-town customers.

The proposed expansion won’t affect smaller utilities, such as ones at Long Point, Crockett Heights and Barrett Road, that lie within the proposed expanded service area, Mayor Nancy Conard said.

The town is able to expand its service area because of a new well that will be drilled near Keystone Road on Central Whidbey Island.

The centrally-located well would access a large aquifer that promises a new supply of fresh water.

“It looks like there is adequate water in the aquifer,” Nancy Conard said.

Doug Kelly, hydrologist for the Island County Health Department, said the town’s current wells, located in town and near Fort Casey, are susceptible to saltwater intrusion and the new well, which is located further inland, won’t have that problem.

Kelly cited the work to research and compile the water management plan that helped find a good aquifer for the town’s water system.

He said that expanding Coupeville’s water service area will help centralize water service to an entity that has the resources to manage it.

“It allows us to manage the resource better than any individual can,” said Bob Clay, member of the Coupeville Town Council during a recent meeting.

The county has two wells near where the town wants to place its new well. The county uses one of the wells for irrigation at Rhododendron Park. Kelly said the county wells shouldn’t affect the town’s plans.

The town is currently accepting bids for the new well. The well is expected to produce 60 gallons of water per minute which should provide water for 200 additional customers.

The town prohibited new hookups for out-of-town customers in the mid-1990s because the town didn’t have the infrastructure and water supply to properly serve them.

Conard said improvements have been made over the years. Those improvements include installation of a new water tower, replacement of a water main near Fort Casey, and improvement of the water treatment system and wastewater treatment facility.

The new service area boundary is based on a review of population densities, current water rights the town holds, the current water system and what areas could eventually access water mains.

“We have been very careful in understanding what the maximum density will be,” Mayor Conard told the council.

The Coupeville Town Council approved the first reading of the proposed ordinance during a late March meeting. The ordinance comes up again during its April 11 meeting that begins at 6:30 p.m. in the commissioners’ hearing room at the courthouse annex building.

The council will also look at an ordinance that would allow the purchase of in-town water hookups without a building permit application.

Get involved

The Coupeville Town Council could approve a resolution to expand the water service area and to allow the sale of water hookups without a building permit.

The council meets Tuesday, April 11, 6:30 p.m. at the Commissioners Hearing Room in the Courthouse Annex Building.

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