Letter to the Editor

Key Center’s Sewage Woes


I read with interest your story on Key Center’s sewage woes (“Wastewater Treatment Limits Business Growth…,” KP News, March 2020). I spend a fair amount of time on water quality and sewage issues as we at Taylor Shellfish Co. work to protect water quality in shellfish growing areas.

We faced a similar situation years ago in the towns of Edison and Blanchard adjacent to Samish Bay. Edison is a small rural community where sewers were potentially cost-prohibitive due to the small number of hookups

There was an enthusiastic group of Edison residents that formed the Edison Sewerage Committee with a tremendous “we can resolve this” spirit.

Blanchard was a little more light-hearted but no less serious about finding a solution. They formed the Blanchard Poop Group. Taylor contributed some seed money to the groups for research and organizing efforts.

I helped write a grant to secure a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant that paid up to $23,000 per household if they qualified as low to moderate income to install new septic systems.

Blanchard installed 29 new septic systems, 27 of which were paid for by the grant>

Because the lot sizes in Edison were too small for new septic systems, they ended up installing what is referred to as a septic tank effluent pumping (STEP) system. Every residence in town got a new watertight septic tank, paid for with grant funds for qualified recipients.

Edison installed sewers in the town with 2-inch pipe, which is possible when moving only liquids and far more cost effective than 12-inch lines and pumps to move solids. The 2-inch lines went to a gravel filter, ultraviolet sterilization and a drain field at the new elementary school, which also needed a new septic system.

All that to say, Pierce County and Key Center leaders might benefit from a tour of Edison and connecting with folks who lead that effort.

Bill Dewey, Director of Public Affairs, Taylor Shellfish Co.