BURBANK -- A major milestone for future development in the Burbank Business Park soon may be reached.
An agreement for the Port of Walla Walla to purchase Pasco's excess sewer capacity only needs Pasco City Council approval to become final.
Port of Walla Walla commissioners unanimously approved the agreement earlier this month. The Pasco City Council may consider the agreement in February.
Uncertainty about whether the port will be able to extend sewer services to the 120-acre business park is thing that has some developers waiting to commit to a project, said port Executive Director Jim Kuntz.
The port wants to connect into Pasco's sewer system to treat sewage from the business park. It would build the infrastructure to bring the waste to Pasco's system, including a pipe underneath the Snake River.
The zoning of the business park would allow commercial uses, Kuntz said.
Light industrial uses also would be possible, such as warehousing for distribution businesses that would need easy access to Highway 12, he said. The new highway interchange should be completed this spring.
The port has been working on engineering and geotechnical work in the past several months to determine how to get the sewer pipe under the Snake River, Kuntz said.
Once the agreement is signed, it will give the port the assurance it needs to continue with the sewer pipe project, he said. The goal is to bid the project in the summer or fall.
The port has set aside $2.1 million in its 2012 capital budget for the sewer line, Kuntz said.
"We've been looking at this project for quite a few years and we have been saving up for it," he said.
The port still will need to extend sewer into the business park, Kuntz said.
A year after the sewer agreement is signed, the port will start buying the first 100,000 gallons per day of capacity from the city for $900,000, paid over three years, Kuntz said.
In 15 years, the port will buy a second 100,000 gallons per day of capacity for an additional $900,000, adjusted for increases in the Consumer Price Index, he said.
The agreement also will give the port an option to purchase a third set of 100,000 gallons a day of capacity within 50 years, he said.
The port will pay regular sewer fees to the city of Pasco and a 100 percent surcharge on the sewer fees for a payment in lieu of taxes, Kuntz said. The payment in lieu of taxes will not be less than $2,000 a month.
The city asked for that payment to address competition for commercial development.
"I think it is a milestone for the development at the west end of the county," Kuntz said.
* Kristi Pihl: 509-582-1512; firstname.lastname@example.org