Cabela's outdoors store in Lacey is in line for a hefty refund on its sewer hookup fee, thanks to water conservation measures installed when the store opened in 2007.
The City of Lacey will ask the LOTT Clean Water Alliance board of directors Wednesday to return about $169,000 in sewer connection fees to the giant retailer based on records that show the company is using nearly two-thirds less water then it expected when it applied for its Lacey building permit.
Another Lacey commercial sewer customer – the Lumbermen’s headquarters office in Hawks Prairie – is in line for a hookup refund of almost $10,000, also because of water conservation included in the new office.
Cabela’s calculated its water usage for the Lacey store based on use at a similarly sized store in Kansas City, Mo., noted Lacey Public Works Director Scott Egger.
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But the company used all low-flow water fixtures at the Lacey store, driving down the wastewater flows dramatically.
If the refund is approved, it will mark the first time the LOTT sewer partners have refunded a business a portion of the sewer hookup fee, LOTT Executive Director Mike Strub said.
“It’s likely the board will approve it,” Strub said. The refund would be consistent with LOTT’s support of water conservation efforts that reduce wastewater flows to its treatment plants, Strub said.
The refund case has prompted Lacey and LOTT to start working on a new ordinance that would spell out how to adjust sewer hookup charges up or down once the customer has a track record of water usage. The 1999 interlocal agreement that established LOTT as a separate entity from Lacey, Olympia, Tumwater and Thurston County neither requires nor prohibits refunds such as the one Lacey has requested on behalf of Cabela’s and Lumbermen’s.
“Our goal is: We just want to be fair,” Egger said.
Such an ordinance is not likely to be a financial strain on the sewer partnership or the cities, Strub said, suggesting that some new businesses will probably use more water than expected and need to pay more for their connections to the sewer system under the proposed ordinance.
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