County offers city solutions to Wagon Wheel well problems

Island County commissioners have sent Oak Harbor’s mayor a number of options for long-term water solutions for the residents of Wagon Wheel Mobile Home Park.

Last week, commissioners and staff from planning and public health reviewed a letter to Mayor Bob Severns outlining actions the city can take, and what the county’s support would be to help provide water to approximately 70 residents at the North Whidbey park.

The letter cites state laws that would allow the city to extend its water service outside its urban growth area, or UGA, and provides three possible methods for doing so. However, commissioners said if the city deems it necessary to solve the problem, “Island County will immediately begin procedural action to amend Oak Harbor’s UGA … provided that the City of Oak Harbor agrees to take immediate action,” the letter states.

In March, the park’s owner began trucking in water for the residents after the mobile home park’s well went dry and two more drilling attempts failed. Since then, the county hydrogeologist worked with the park owner to get two of the wells to produce water, Public Health Director Keith Higman said in an interview.

However, the wells are pumping at too low a capacity, and they won’t last long term, he said. Residents are also on a boil water notice.

The owner is working on replacing water distribution lines to fix any leaks that might be reducing the output and the county has asked that he monitor water levels in the wells. If those existing wells can’t produce more water, another connection is going to be needed, Higman said.

The people who manage the neighboring water systems have said they don’t have the capacity to share with the park, Higman said.

The city will need to amend its water service area to include the Heller Road property.

Commissioners said the county is prepared to help the city with an application to amend it and “will do whatever is possible to ensure timely and prompt review and consideration of such application.”

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