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Lemolo Citizens Club’s re-appeal goes forward

POULSBO — “It got the knife,” Richard Best of the Lemolo Citizens Club said this week of the group’s appeal to the Final Supplemental Environmental Statement for the Central Kitsap County Wastewater Facilities Plan.

But for Best and the rest of the LCC, getting the knife apparently is a long way from “getting the boot.”

Tuesday, the group filed a request for reconsideration of Kitsap County Hearing Examiner Stephen Causseaux’s Dec. 11 decision and stated that its FSEIS concerns had not been adequately addressed by government officials during the past year.

“We believe your decision denying our appeal is errant, as a result of flawed input from Kitsap County, and does not meet the rule of reason that you espouse throughout your decision document,” Best noted in a Dec. 18 letter to Causseaux. “We believe the subject documents, taken in totality, fail to meet the purpose and intent of (the State Environmental Protection Act).”

Best’s seven-page letter was sent in conjunction with a five-page request from Allan Saunders, also of the LCC.

Saunders, a retired mechanical engineer, also offers a somewhat scathing review of the county declaration.

“The standard of review in an environmental appeal is the rule of reason,” Saunders wrote, citing Causseaux’s decision.

To this he added, “Surely, the rule of reason would dictate that a project that will cost many millions of dollars, that does even a small amount of environmental damage, and that is not needed, should be rejected.”

Saunders also pointed out inflow and infiltration changes taken by Poulsbo at problem areas throughout the city’s south end. For years, heavy rains infiltrated Poulsbo’s stormwater system, vastly increasing the amount of wastewater sent to Brownsville for treatment.

Poulsbo Public Works Supt. Bill Duffy reported Wednesday that the troubled system was put to the test during a seasonal Northwest downpour on Sunday. The heavy rain, he said, would have maxed out the system a few years ago but was much more manageable due to recent improvements.

According to Duffy, sanitary sewer work reduced peak flows to Brownsville from the 3 million gallons per day the city experienced during deluge conditions in 1998 to just 1.8 million gallons per day.

While this is good news to Poulsbo, in terms of treatment costs, Saunders pointed out that the math used by the county to figure inflow and infiltration for the system was incorrect. Saunders argued that Kitsap County’s use of high flow numbers that Poulsbo experienced in the late 1990s resulted in a false assumption.

“The major defect in the FSEIS is that... assumes that the high peak flows experienced in the late ‘90s were the result of a fixed law of nature and would inevitably double as the population doubled,” he explained. “That assumption is obviously not true, yet the whole FSEIS... has been built on this non-existent foundation.”

But both Saunders and Best agreed that peak flows are just part of the larger issue at hand — protection of the environment.

“We fully recognize that Kitsap County is allowed by law to propose an economically wasteful, frivolous project,” Best stated. “However, the SEPA process assumes and requires valid reasons for impacting the environment. Your document was silent regarding this matter.”

The Lemolo Citizens Club is expecting to hear whether the hearing examiner has changed his decision on the appeal in the early part of 2002. If Causseaux maintains his stance, the group will likely take the FSEIS matter before the Kitsap County Commissioners for additional review and possible overturn of the previous appeal denial.

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