To eliminate unhealthful septic tank infiltration into Devils Lake, the Lincoln City City Council tonight is expected to begin the long process for doing something about it. City Manager David Hawker will present a report on two basic options – 1) Install city sewers around the lake paid for with a homeowner $40/month water service surcharge (half that for those living along tributaries to the lake) and a 4% additional surcharge for property owners inside and outside the city (but within the city’s urban growth boundary), or, 2) those affected by the septic issue approving a special sewer district and see the cost of the $4.7 million project chopped in half. Hawker says forming a district makes it likely the project will be 50% subsidized by outside grants based on the health threat and an endangered species of fish in the lake, Coho Salmon. The district tax rate would thereby be something just over 30-cents per thousand of assessed value, something he characterized as being very affordable.
If voter approved, the Devils Lake Sewer District would operate very similar to the Roads End Sewer District which has been in operation for many years.
Over the years, Devils Lake has been the scene of frequent algae blooms fed by high levels of organics in the lake leeching from the groundwater fed by failing septic systems. High levels of ecoli bacteria have also plagued the lake – some of which comes from local wildlife, horses, farms and birds that exist along two major tributaries to the lake.
Tonight’s report by City Manager David Hawker to his city council begins at 6pm, city hall.