Water system unknowns alter town update plans

Due to unknowns with its water system, the Town of Coupeville is submitting a limited update for its required 10-year plan.

State Health requires an update every 10 years highlighting the town’s water system plans for emergencies, wellhead protection, water conservation, water quality monitoring, etc.

And like the recently approved six-year transportation plan, the town is also required to list capital facility projects in its plan in order to qualify for funding on those projects.

Town engineer Kim Hinds said that after discussing the ongoing issue of water contamination in one of the town’s wells due to a firefighting foam used by the Navy, it was decided the town could prepare a limited update that will last two years.

The town cited contamination, possible negotiations with the Navy and its inability to forecast capital improvements in being unable to complete a full plan.

The limited update will state that the previous plan is still valid with its assumptions with regard to water supply resources and facilities, available ERUs (equivalent residential units), slow population growth and capital improvements, Hinds said.

The state provided the town with a list of items that would be required in the limited update which included information on the contamination issue, the limited growth since the last plan’s approval and the rate study performed by the town. Additionally, a new consistency form signed by the county, an extension of the SEPA and approval by the council.

In a letter to the Department of Health, Mayor Molly Hughes said the town feels comfortable using its current water system plan because growth has been slower than anticipated.

“Growth has been less than 1 percent per year,” she wrote.

Town council held a hearing on the limited update Tuesday and approved the plan Thursday during a workshop.