By Leslie Moriarty
SNOHOMISH — Water will flow freely around here for the next 40 years, thanks to a pipeline project that just started.
The $36.4 million project also means three local water agencies have put off costly expansions such as finding new water supplies, for several decades.
The pipeline, a cooperative effort of three South Snohomish County water districts, will bring additional high quality water to meet the needs of a growing population in South Snohomish County, said Arden Blackledge, general manager of the Alderwood Water District.
"When we first began to look at our growing water needs in 1996, we knew we had water available from (the city of) Everett," he said. "It was just a matter of getting it here."
Blackledge said the Alderwood Water District, the Silver Lake Water District and the Cross Valley Water District joined forces to form the Clearview Group and began planning for the water line expansion.
"In 1996, our (Alderwood) customer base was about 180,000 accounts," he said. "By 2012, that number is projected to climb to 250,000."
The Clearview Pipeline will carry water from Everett’s pipeline 5, just south of the Ebey Slough, on a route south, parallel to Highway 9, to the Clearview Reservoir near Cathcart.
A new Clearview Pump Station will be located along the pipeline south of 60th Street SE.
The new Clearview Pipeline will be tunneled under the Snohomish River to avoid disturbing the river and adjacent areas. Water will flow into a steel tank at the Clearview Reservoir near 73rd Avenue SE and 156th Street SE, on a site owned by the Alderwood Water and Wastewater District.
The anticipated cost was $43 million when plans were first drafted. But Blackledge said Alderwood sold revenue bonds, and because the district was able to get the bonds at a low interest rate for 30 years, the district saved taxpayers money.
"Right now, we’re thinking that the project will be more at $36.4 million when everything is finished," he said.
Cross Valley and Silver Lake water received state money to pay for their share of the costs.
Blackledge said 34 permits were secured from state, federal and county agencies for the project including environmental permits to meet the Endangered Species Act.
As a part of that, the Clearview Group will create wetlands, purchase timber rights to preserve natural areas, enhance fish habitat, and study stormwater management to improve drainage in the Little Bear Creek Basin.
Blackledge said, "By us bringing the water from Snohomish south, this has delayed other, more expensive projects to ensure water service in this part of the county for some time," he said. "That, too, is a big cost savings to our customers."
You can call Herald Writer Leslie Moriarty at 425-339-3436
or send e-mail to email@example.com.