Tumwater City Council authorized Mayor Debbie Sullivan to sign a grant agreement with the Department of Ecology (Ecology) to fund a septic-to-sewer conversion program at Velkommen Mobile Home Park during a council meeting on Tuesday, January 17.
Under the agreement, Tumwater is set to receive $500,000 from Ecology, which required the city to match the grant for $166,667. The funds would be used to convert and connect 39 septic systems to the city sewer to reduce sewage water discharge into the groundwater and improve water quality in the area.
Water Resources Director Dan Smith said that the program’s first six to eight months would be spent on a social marketing campaign to better inform all parties involved about the benefits and barriers of transitioning to a sewer system. Once this stage is completed, the city would study the construction cost and permits before the property owners and residents agree to begin construction.
“There are 39 [septic] units at Velkommen and so they will be consolidated down to one connection,” Smith explained. “There would be kind of a master connection to the city's sewer system. We need to understand what the costs are for that not only to the owners and the managers of the park but to the residents.”
Smith added that the program could serve as a model project which could be replicated not just regionally but also statewide.
The mobile home park is located on 78th Avenue on the west side of I-5. Smith said that the park residents support the program as they personally reached out to the city in 2019 to connect their area to the sewer after experiencing issues with their water system provider.