BEND, OR -- Bend City Councilors will again hear from residents involved in the Septic to Sewer project, in the southeast corner of the city. Property owners who have not yet provided testimony are invited to take part in the second listening session, Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., the Bend Senior Center.
Septic To Sewer Meeting Draws Dozens (08/16/2018)
City Manager Eric King says converting from septic systems to sewer service is non-negotiable, "This is a state rule that we’re trying to comply with. I think, you can try and change state law, but that’s been there for a long, long time. And so, we have to also just be practical about the environment that we are working in and try best to work together. This is really about us – the city and neighborhoods – trying to find a solution." That state rule says that properties within 300' of a functioning sewer system must connect to that line. A large pocket of Southeast Bend was developed with septic tanks because, originally, it wasn't part of the city.
For some, King says, the transition could be cost prohibitive, "It’s a major expense. And, what we’re trying to avoid is having one neighbor having to pay, potentially, over $100,000 to connect to the sewer system when their tank fails, to comply with this rule; versus the other neighbor who might just be conveniently located near where that pipe is, and have to pay a lot less. We’re trying to spread that cost and make it more equitable throughout that area." He tells KBND News, "We’re trying to find ways that we can be sensitive to people that are on fixed incomes, that are in poverty; we don’t want to have people lose their homes over this, by any means. The committee’s recommendations have some suggestions on how to do that, and then Council is going to be vetting those recommendations over the next couple of months and hopefully come up with a resolution later this year."
Wednesday evening's meeting is purely for feedback, not deliberations. King is hopeful they’ll come up with a plan to address everyone’s concerns, which could impact all ratepayers, later this fall.