City plans sewer project in Bel Air area
By next summer, the entire Bel Air and Herzberg Heights neighborhoods, in northeast Madras, will have sewer available, thanks to a loan from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.
The city of Madras was awarded the $1.115 million loan last spring to run the sewer lines throughout the area, which will give homeowners with failing systems the opportunity to connect to city sewer. The DEQ has agreed to provide forgiveness for up to $500,000 of the 30-year loan, which leaves $615,000 at 1.41 percent interest per year.
"We have had about eight connect on Chestnut," said Jeff Hurd, director of the Madras Public Works Department, which is planning a neighborhood meeting for Monday, Nov. 13, at 6 p.m., at the Cornerstone Baptist Church.
The purpose of the meeting is factfinding, according to Hurd, who hopes that homeowners in the neighborhood will attend. "We want to find out their concerns, be it monetary, or inconvenience. We want to gather all that information and bring it back to the council," he said.
The city has sent out fliers to more than 60 homes in the neighborhoods to encourage residents to attend.
"It affects everyone who is on septic and has concerns or questions," said Hurd, adding, "because what ultimately will happen, when it's figured out what's fair and equitable, is we'll put that language in our wastewater ordinance."
Under state code, if a sewer system fails and a homeowner seeks a permit to repair or replace it, the permit can be denied if there is a sewerage connection point within 300 feet.
"A sewerage system is deemed legally available if the system is not under a DEQ connection permit moratorium and the sewerage owner (the city) is willing or obligated to provide sewer service," the ruling notes.
"We're trying to define that 'willing,'" said Hurd, who is seeking input from the public.
In addition to representatives of the city, and county sanitarian Rich Black, representatives from the DEQ will provide clarification on the rules. Representatives from NeighborImpact will inform residents about financing options for connecting to city sewer.
For more information, call Hurd at 541-325-0309.