LA PINE, OR -- It's still unclear whether a majority of south county residents support moving forward with the formation of a sewer district. The Deschutes County Planning Commission held a meeting to gauge public opinion, last week. But, Planning Manager Peter Gutowsky tells KBND public opinion remains split. "There's been a long history of Deschutes County and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality addressing groundwater quality in the La Pine sub-basin. I think the real challenge comes to this isn't an imminent public health hazard, it's a slow moving situation."
Supporters say a sewer district would help reduce the risk of groundwater contamination from septic systems used in the area. Gutowsky says, "I think Deschutes County, the DEQ and Land Conservation and Development are trying to provide flexibility so that if the vulnerability persists, property owners have the ability to rely on different wastewater treatments than just septic systems."
The Planing Commission will meet again August 13 to discuss whether to ask for an exception from the state, which would allow for the creation of a sewer district. The commission ultimately will offer a recommendation to the full Deschutes County Board of Commissioners.
Many in La Pine remain concerned about the potential cost of the project.