Public Comment Sought on Water System Extension Policies

Posted Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Skagit PUD has been reviewing its policies that guide how a development project receives water service from the utility. As a part of this review process, the PUD's Board of Commissioners is requesting public input on these policies and potential areas for improvement.

Property developers regularly come to the PUD to determine how they can receive water service for their project. These projects range from building a new home on vacant property to large-scale residential and commercial developments. Skagit PUD has a comprehensive set of policies related to the administration of its water utility. These policies are established by the publicly elected Board of Commissioners and are captured in a document known as the Water Policy Manual.

For a property to receive water service, a waterline of sufficient size and capacity must be located at the property. One of the first steps in the process is to determine how the water system needs to be expanded to serve a proposed project. There are specific exceptions where an individual service line can serve a property without extending the waterline, but usually a new Skagit PUD water main is required.

One of the foundational aspects of the PUD's policy is that expansions of the water system are normally financed by the developer in need. This can be a surprise to new applicants unfamiliar with the procedure. In some situations, the PUD may also require that a new waterline is extended beyond the proposed project so that it can be connected to another portion of the PUD's water system. Known as “gridding” or “looping,” this requirement is intended to develop the water system in a manner consistent with industry standards and sound engineering principles. These gridding and looping requirements have resulted in requests for further explanation by the PUD by the applicants.

Skagit PUD intends to review these policies with a goal of improving their effectiveness and ensuring clear communication to potential customers. As a first step, stakeholders affected by these policies are encouraged to submit comments. Besides the two examples described above, there may be other sections of the policies related to water system extensions that are of interest. These comments will be helpful as the process continues. Depending on the level of public input, additional meetings or other opportunities for comments may be provided.

Specific policy sections related to water extension policies can be found in Section 6 (Water Extension Policies) and Appendix C (Water System Design Criteria). If desired, please provide written comments by September 11, 2020. Comments can be submitted by email to, or by mail to Bill Trueman, Engineering Supervisor, 1415 Freeway Drive, Mount Vernon, WA 98273-1436.