Federal water quality dollars flow into Gorst

A Gorst sewerage treatment project, which broke ground Friday, joins a new Bremerton ultraviolet water treatment project underway, both made possible by federal stimulus dollars.

The two new systems, which will be completed in about October, drew almost $13 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, enacted in February 2009.

"This is exactly why we passed this appropriations bill," said U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair, at a ceremony at Gold Mountain Golf Complex.

The ultraviolet water treatment systems are used in addition to chlorine to meet federal drinking water regulations. If it weren't for the $6 million stimulus grant, the project cost would have been shouldered by local rate payers, said Tom Knuckey, managing engineer for Bremerton Public Works and Utilities.

The Gorst sewerage system and septic replacement project was a long-standing need made wholly possible by the federal money.

"I don't know how the Gorst project could have been done without the stimulus funding," Knuckey said.

Gorst, which currently depends on residential septic systems, will use almost $6.9 million in federal dollars to construct a sewer collection system. The new system will replace septic tanks that have allowed the discharge of untreated sewage into Gorst Creek.

Of the $7.5 million cost of the Gorst project, $42,000 will be footed by Gorst residents through wastewater rates. For the UV treatment, about $300,000 of the $6.3 million budget will be paid by ratepayers.

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