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Poulsbo sewage route gets another big pump

LEMOLO — It’s already taken two huge punches on the nose, but whether Richard Best’s appeal of the adequacy of environmental statements concerning a plan to increase trans-Liberty Bay raw sewage flows from Poulsbo to Brownsville will stay down for the count has yet to be determined.

For the second time in as many months, Best and members of the Lemolo Citizens Club received disheartening news from Kitsap County Hearings Examiner Stephen Causseaux, Jr. Their appeal of the Kitsap County’s Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS) for the central Wastewater Facilities Plan has been denied again.

Best and the LCC had originally appealed the county plan months ago, but decision on the matter was delayed time and time again.

On Dec. 6 of last year, Causseaux issued a determination which denied the group’s claims that the sewage proposal did not adequately address environmental concerns. Less than two weeks later, Best asked for reconsideration, but after additional review the county’s previous position on the plan stood.

The appellants were notified of the decision Feb. 1.

Although the hearings examiner’s statement on the long-running issue was final, the Lemolo Citizens Club might still have a light at the end of the sewer pipe in the form of the county commissioners.

According to the Feb. 1 findings, Causseaux stated, “When the board adopts the Wastewater Facilities Plan, it will consider the environmental impacts identified in the environmental documents to include the FSEIS...”

He also pointed out that, at that time, the commissioners will consider conflicting expert opinions before voting for or against the proposal.

“The board will then consider said environmental documents along with social, economic, technical and political considerations to make an informed decision,” Causseaux added.

While the Lemolo Citizens Club argued that the issue of pressurizing the existing underwater lines to the sewage station at Brownsville was not addressed by the hearings examiner in his previous findings and that a highly successful inflow and infiltration reduction program by Poulsbo had negated the need for the project, Causseaux pointed out that — once again — whether or not the plan should move forward was up to the commissioners.

“The board determines whether a public works project is needed, not the environmental official or the hearing examiner,” he stated, adding that it was the commissioners’ call “as to how, when, where and for what to spend tax dollars.”

“The appellants, several of whom are prominent, highly-qualified engineers, have, again, thoroughly presented their disagreements with the content of the FSEIS,” Causseaux noted. “Kitsap County’s experts, also prominent, highly-qualified engineers, have responded.”

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