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Newhouse, Hazzard named to drainage district posts

YAKIMA - A holdover from Yakima County's irrigation history, two Sunnyside-area drainage improvement districts, received new board members yesterday.

That's according to action by Yakima County commissioners on Tuesday.

Dan Newhouse was appointed to Drainage Improvement District #12 and Jeremy Hazzard was appointed to Drainage Improvement District #7.

"They're an ancient part of the valley and were used to lower water tables and handle run-off scattered all over the county," said Yakima County Commissioner Rand Elliott, who represents an area that includes the Lower Valley.

Elliott noted the districts are all independent and have their own boards.

He says sometimes that ancient history bumps into modern progress.

"The city of Yakima as it has grown by annexation suddenly finds itself with drainage improvement districts in the city limits," Elliott said.

That, in turn, can create issues with having a board in the city limits that is appointed or elected independently of the city's government.

Elliott says the districts can also cause environmental concerns in heavily populated areas. "You can end up with stormwater dumping into the old drainage district drains and getting into the city system."

While there are some areas of the county that can still benefit from drainage improvement districts, Elliott wonders about their future.

"There may be some particular ones that are valuable, but I think generally they've outlived their usefulness," he said.

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