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Water quality, quantity cited in Kingman septic deal

Steve Moss

Abandonment proposal OK'd by supervisors

KINGMAN - Forty residential property owners on Beverly Avenue could receive a substantial financial break if they choose to connect to a proposed new sewer line on Beverly Avenue between North Fairfax and Fifth streets.

The Mohave County Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed to temporarily waive the county's septic tank abandonment permit fee for properties fronting Beverly Avenue within the project's boundaries that disconnect from their septic tanks and hook in to the sewer line. The board signed an agreement with the city, which still needs to be approved by the Kingman City Council at an upcoming meeting. No date has been set for the issue yet.

The total financial impact to Mohave County of erasing the fee for the 40 properties would be $227 each, or a total of $9,080. To benefit from the break, property owners must hook in to the new sewer line within 12 months of the project's completion date.

For its part, the city would waive the sewer investment fee it usually charges for connecting to a new sewer line. The fee averages about $1,274 per connection. Also, the city would provide inspection services for the abandoned septic tanks, ensure they comply with state law and forward any documentation to the county. The inspections usually are completed by the county, and having the city handle them would remove that cost.

In a letter sent to Mohave County Development Services, Kingman Assistant City Engineer Mike Prior said the conditions of the existing septic systems within the limits of the project are unknown. But based on the soil conditions and age of the homes, it is anticipated that a large percentage of them are approaching their service life and will need to be abandoned and connect to sewer soon.

"Planned and systematic septic system abandonments greatly reduce the potential for wastewater discharge as compared to when done after a septic system has failed," wrote Prior. "Additionally, the reduction of individual septic systems to safeguard the water quality of the aquifers is vital to the health and growth of our community."

Supervisor Steve Moss agreed it is environmentally expedient to connect the properties to the sewer system to make sure the waste is collected, treated and doesn't get into the groundwater. He also said it's important the treated water, which is not drinkable, gets appropriately reused, either by watering area parks, being injected back into the ground or diverted for other uses. That way, said Moss, the county's safe water supply is available for human consumption.

"We need to be considering more of these types of projects in Mohave County," said Moss. "Lake Mead is just over 1,100 feet and if it drops to 1,075 feet, which it will within the next year since we've been in a long-term drought in the river communities, it will trigger the first water shortage. If it goes lower, even more severe triggers will be hit and electrical power production will cease or be greatly limited. We need to develop alternate water supplies and this plan is a very good step in that direction."

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