A joint sewer system with Winlock is still one of the options being pursued by the City of Napavine as they continue responding to increases in their costs to receive service from Chehalis.
Napavine has been exploring the possibility of joining with Winlock, or building their own plant, after Chehalis completed a rate study last year and found Napavine was underpaying for services, leading to a proposed increase of 70 percent in the city's payments for wastewater treatment.
Napavine Community Development Director Steve Ashley said, after negotiations with the system's Sewer Operating Board, that number has since been decreased to roughly 40 percent, though the city is still actively researching what it would cost to discontinue their use of Chehalis' system.
"It's just a matter of what is economically feasible," said Ashley, having stated the cost to build a plant of their own is roughly comparable to the cost of extending sewer lines to Winlock and buying into half of their system (between $10 million and $12 million) adding his city's efforts lately have been dedicated more toward the possibility of a new plant.
When Winlock officials were informed in January of Napavine's search for alternative sewer a, they eagerly offered Winlock's plant as an option, given the city's need for a greater customer base as their current rates of $93.50 per month are the highest in the county.
During an interview Friday, Winlock Mayor Lonnie Dowell said he has lately been following Napavine's lead, in regard to their pursuit of alternative sewer services, and has yet to communicate with them further on the matter since the beginning of the year.
"The ball is definitely in their court," he said, stating his office has yet to receive any requests for further information from Napavine.
Despite a search for alternatives, the Napavine City Council approved an increase in base sewer rates during their April 14 meeting from $47 per month to $58 per month, indicating their intent to remain with Chehalis for at least the next few years. Ashley noted the increase should account for the added costs passed on from Chehalis.