Bayview pipe will run through state game refuge

Posted: Monday, January 09, 2006

The long-awaited Bayview subdivision sewer system may proceed to construction this year.

"We've finished our design drawings and are just about ready to put out construction bids," said Rorie Watt, Juneau's capital project engineer.

The city has permission from the state to dig a 4-to-8-foot-deep trench for a 6-inch pipeline through the Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge, between the neighborhood on Douglas Island and the Mendenhall Wastewater Treatment Plant on the mainland. The sewer pipe, which has received its permits, will cross about 7,500 feet of the refuge.

The project will cost about $1.9 million and serve about 70 homes, Watt said.

Some critics are worried about the pipeline's long-term impacts on the refuge.

"I do not recall a time when the refuge has been bisected like this," said Laurie Craig, a local artist and naturalist.

"It is unfortunate that long-term plans cannot be implemented that connect other Douglas Highway homes to sewers and a line run along the beach, as was done for Bonnie Brae, instead of trenching across the refuge in this manner," Craig said.

The state Department of Natural Resources recently put out a public notice on the project's final approval document - a public easement providing a 30-foot corridor through the refuge.

The comment period on the easement expires this Wednesday.

Watt said the project is necessary to resolve the Bayview subdivision's ongoing pollution from failing septic systems.

The subdivision's current outfall to Gastineau Channel has exceeded water quality standards 36 times since 2002, according to city records.

• Elizabeth Bluemink can be reached at

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