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Study highlights importance of sewage system proposed for Terrebonne

Environmental concerns prompt effort to move toward sanitary district

(Update: Adding video, comments from Terrebonne Sewer Advisory Group member Parker Vernon)

TERREBONNE, Ore., (KTVZ) -- A 2020 Terrebonne Wastewater Feasibility Study shows that many septic tanks in Terrebonne are reaching the end of their 30-year life cycle, leading to the leaks.  

The study was initiated by a Terrebonne Sewer Advisory Group member, Parker Vernon, who gathered 100 petition signatures from individuals in the community who were interested in seeing an updated wastewater feasibility study.

"One of the big issues, on the environmental side -- there are drill holes, which basically are bore holes that raw sewage go into, and then it dissipates into your ground water," Vernon said Monday. "Two, the entire city is on septic systems, and septic systems have a definitive life span of them, and they go bad. And once those go bad, a majority of the residential areas in Terrebonne don't have enough septic system reserve to redo, and it's very cost prohibitive.”

Vernon added that the closure of businesses due to septic failures is another motivation.

Although the benefits of having a sewage system have been undisputed, the cost of operation and maintenance is something the Terrebonne community will need to come together to financially support, because the county will not pay for it. This will be the third time the study has been conducted.

Vernon said though it will be a costly expense, and they’re still crunching numbers to find a rough estimate, the pros outweigh the cons.

“It allows for more business to come into the Terrebonne area, which means more jobs, which means more money in the community," Vernon said.

Terrebonne has twice the septic repair rate than the rest of Deschutes County.  

The county and the Terrebonne Sewer Advisory Group will hold a public open house to share information about the potential for sewer in Terrebonne from 6-7 p.m. on Wednesday at the Terrebonne Grange Hall, 8286 11th Street in Terrebonne.

An online survey was conducted, and three design alternatives considered, along with preliminary cost estimates. It's the third time such a study has been done, as ones in 1984 and 1999 didn't lead to action due to a lack of community support at the time, the county said.

Information will be presented at the open house on the sewer feasibility study and what steps the community needs to take to form a sanitary district. Engineers and other stakeholders will be on hand to answer questions.

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Bola Gbadebo

Bola Gbadebo is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Bola here.

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