The Irondale & Port Hadlock Urban Growth Area (UGA) is located roughly six miles south of the City of Port Townsend, Washington. Jefferson County identified the Irondale & Port Hadlock UGA as a place for potential growth and in 2002 designated this unincorporated area as an official "Urban Growth Area." Under Washington State's Growth Management Act (GMA), urban growth areas are required to have "fundamental urban services," including public sewers (the area is currently served by private septic systems).
Without urban services including a public sewer system, urban densities and urban zoning allowing commercial development and multi-family housing are not allowed under the GMA. As a result, the area is limited under the current "transitional rural zoning." Future zoning that has been approved for the UGA once a sewer is constructed can be viewed here. Through the preparation (September 2008) and adoption (March 2009) of the Sewer Facility Plan for the Irondale & Port Hadlock UGA, Jefferson County took the first step to satisfy this requirement for the development of a public sewer system.
Through this Sewer Facility Plan, and in consultation with community members and the Sewer Advisory Group, Jefferson County Public Works' consultant team recommended a preferred alternative for building a sewer system in Port Hadlock with later expansion to Irondale, ultimately serving approximately 1,290 acres. The recommendation was based on engineering feasibility, responsiveness to community concerns, compliance with regulatory requirements, preliminary cost estimates, and environmental considerations.
The County decided to move forward with this recommendation and completed design with final plans and specifications for the wastewater treatment plant, influent pipeline, and effluent (treated water) reuse (infiltration) area. In addition, the County acquired the land needed for construction of these facilities. The design of the gravity collection system (the pipes under the roads throughout the UGA) has only been completed to the 10% level at this time.
While much of the design is complete, construction cannot begin until funding that is both affordable and sustainable is acquired. Jefferson County continues to seek funding for the sewer system so that the Irondale & Port Hadlock UGA can reap the benefits of development. For example, a public sewer system could encourage local economic development through retail expansion and job growth. In addition, consolidated growth in the UGA has environmental benefits by limiting sprawl. And lastly, a sewer system would benefit residents by providing them better services.