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County extends Outlook water, wastewater studies

OUTLOOK - New water and wastewater systems may be a possibility for the community of Outlook, but it will take more time to find out for sure.

Yakima County commissioners on Tuesday approved a one-year extension of the deadline to complete a report to study the feasibility of delivering a wastewater system to the small community.

The research was due for completion by the end of this month, but the extension now gives the county until April 2008.

The state's Community Trade and Economic Development (CTED) program approved the extra time for engineering firm Huibregtse, Louman and Associates to complete the study. CTED gave the county a $24,000 grant to conduct the study.

Joe Stump is a utilities manager with the county, and said the extra time is needed because original cost estimates were so high.

The preliminary numbers were $2 million, he said.

The extra research time will allow the county to explore less costly alternatives.

"One would be modifying the service area to higher (population) density areas of Outlook," Stump said. "The service area was initially quite broad." He also said the extra time will allow engineers to explore other options for the wastewater system's lift stations."

A similar process is underway in researching a water delivery system for Outlook.

Stump said initial estimates were that it would cost about $3 million to construct a water system for Outlook. Commissioners have also given more time for the water study to explore less costly options.

Yakima County received a $26,000 grant from the Department of Health to research the water situation in Outlook.

Stump said the water and wastewater research studies should be wrapped up by the end of this year.

If water and wastewater systems are deemed affordable for Outlook, the county hopes to seek more CTED monies to cover the capital costs of construction. Residents hooked into the system would then pay a monthly utility bill for water and wastewater services.

Outlook's water and sewer services have been a concern for the county since a public health emergency was declared there several years ago.

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