Sewer hookup violation notices sent to Moses Lake property owners

Columbia Basin HeraldJuly 4, 2014 

— Violation notices will be sent this week to owners of at least 42 properties in the Longview Tracts area of Moses Lake who have not connected to the city’s sewer system.

The Moses Lake City Council agreed recently to begin the enforcement process on properties that are required but have yet to connect to the city’s sewer line that was installed in 2011. City code requires properties within 200 feet of a sewer line to connect unless the cost for the project exceeds $10,000.

“We really don’t want to go to enforcement unless it’s absolutely necessary but I think it’s time to move ahead,” Council member Jon Lane said.

The cost of connecting, estimated between $3,000 and $5,000, is a financial burden on many of the residents. As a result, the city offered to finance the costs of the projects for residents last year. The council again agreed last week to continue offering 10-year loans at 4 percent interest or 15-year loans at 6 percent, adding at least $30 to property owner’s monthly utility bill.

Community Development Director Gilbert Alvarado said Tuesday property owners have the option to pursue connection to the system, accept the city’s loan offer, or do nothing and face up to a $5,000 penalty while still not being in compliance with city code. Owners are given 10 business days to correct the violation after the first notice is received. If the violation is not corrected within the 10 days, a second notice is mailed and owners are given another 10 days before financial penalties take effect.

Alvarado said at least 15 of the homes are owned by just two owners, both of which the city continues to have issues with code enforcement. City officials found one of the properties, on Miller Street, that was not connected to any septic system. Photos shown by Alvarado to council members showed a cesspool under the home as well as a trench in the backyard, with sewage flowing into an adjoining property. The house was marked as a “dangerous building” by the city and the family was forced to move out. Alvarado said the next day, the owners were on the property dealing with the issue.

Alvarado said some of the property owners started to deal with the issue but will need to show the city proof they are in compliance.

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