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Survey of Outlook residents scheduled for Saturday afternoon

Wastewater treatment system grant funds sought by county

OUTLOOK - Most residents of Outlook will hear a knock at their door this coming Saturday. Community volunteers will join Yakima County staff members in conducting a door-to-door survey in that tiny town this Saturday, April 9, to obtain information for a federal grant application.

The survey teams will visit more than 100 homes in Outlook seeking household income data, which is required for a Community Development Block Grant application. If the funds are secured, planning will begin on installing a community-wide wastewater treatment system.

According to county officials, planning for a wastewater system is urgently needed in the Lower Valley community.

"The Yakima Health District declared a public health emergency in Outlook in 1999 due to failing septic systems," said Kolya McCleave, the county planner who is coordinating Saturday's community survey.

"The existing septic systems are old and fail regularly, allowing raw, untreated sewage to surface and contaminate nearby wells," McCleave continued. He added that the 164 households in Outlook currently rely on individual septic systems.

McCleave explained that funding is needed to begin the initial planning of wastewater improvements and to evaluate options. To that end, said McCleave, the county will submit a planning grant application under the Community Development Block Grant program.

That first step in that process is to conduct the income survey. McCleave said Outlook residents will be asked if their total household income is above or below a specified amount. He said that information will only be used in the grant application. He added that the survey information will be kept confidential and anonymous.

The information gathered this Saturday may also support future grant applications for water system improvements.

The survey team is scheduled to meet at noon this Saturday at the Outlook Post Office to review instructions. The survey is expected to be completed that afternoon.

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