Correcting a previous sewer extension letter

Letter to the editor

Posted: Thursday, January 04, 2007

Linda Orr's letter, "Houses don't grow over the septic tank," in the Juneau Empire on Dec. 12, begs for correction.

Sound off on the important issues at

First, there will be no lift stations, "hideously expensive" or otherwise. The designers and engineers wisely recognize lift stations for each individual home are expensive, problematic and unnecessary. As I understand it, because you-know-what flows downhill, the North Douglas sewer system extension will take full advantage of gravity, which makes perfect sense.

Downhill pipes will collect it, then a couple of municipal pumping stations will move our excrement on its happy way to sewage treatment plants. Let's say it again: There will be no lift stations.

Second, no one's "ignoring the highly skilled professionals who have laid out a good sewer extension plan." The Public Works and Facilities committee and city Assembly merely re-ordered the first draft of the proposed sequencing of each segment of the project.

Gravity dictates the two beach segments (83 homes in one and 56 in the other) and the one uphill segment (22 homes) must precede the three other uphill segments.

By adopting the North Douglas Neighborhood Association's proposal, the committee and the Assembly are first serving nearly four times the number of homes than the initial draft proposal.

Third, Ms. Orr inaccurately characterized the citizen effort that led to the Assembly's approval of the committee's action. "Arm-twisting" incorrectly implies inappropriate, behind-the-scenes coercion. The North Douglas neighbors worked in the full light of day and at public gatherings. They went door-to-door and talked to the people who live in our neighborhood.

They presented a simple, logical and, ultimately, compelling argument: If we have limited and/or uncertain resources to apply to the sewer extension project, we should first serve as many existing homes as possible.

Ms. Orr was certainly free and welcome to present an alternative view. She never did so at any of the meetings I attended. In fact, no one did.

A group of citizens publicly petitioned their government and their government listened. We live there. We made our feelings known. Our elected officials heard us and acted. That's the way it's supposed to work.

Thank you to the Public Works and Facilities committee and the full Assembly for responding to the people most directly affected by this project.

Ronald G. Clarke


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