Chair: Ken Woodward, Detroit
-Chair introduces and leads discussions, call for motions for action items, facilitates decision making
-Keep the task group aware of emerging topics
Vice Chair: Tim Kirsch, Mill City
-Vice Chair acts in chair position when chair unavailable
Secretary: Janet Zeyen-Hall, Mill City
-Coordinates the approval of invoices from Mill City
-Provides reports to task group from fiscal agent Mill City 
-Takes notes of action items and provides them to Marion County for inclusion in minutes 
Historian: Jeff Yohe, Idanha
-Takes photos of meetings and items of interest to the sewer project for use in presentations and grant applications 
Communications: Shelley Engle, Detroit
- Manage and update website
- Coordinate and draft public education
- Assist with funding applications and presentations
Signatory authority (one from each city)
Ken Woodward, Detroit
TBD, Gates
Jeff Yohe, Idanha
Tim Kirsch, Mill City

Rules of the North Santiam Joint Sewer Group

1. There are eight authorized voting members (no more than 2 from each city)

Detroit:     Shelley Engle, Ken Woodward

Gates:      Dale Weise, TBD

Idanha:    TJeff Smith Jeff Yohe,

Mill City:  Tim Kirsch, Janet Zeyen-Hall

2. Quorum for action items or votes shall consist of five voting members (tie vote plus one)

3. All tie votes, fail

4. Two signatures on the approval documents and financial, but only after the approval from task group

I'm a Local Resident

Why is this project necessary?

This project is necessary to protect the North Santiam Watershed from widespread toxic septic system failures. The water from this watershed serves more than 200,000 residents daily. In addition, a sewer system will allow for economic redevelopment of existing properties. 

How much will this cost me?

A detailed engineering and design study of this sewer project his in process, by Keller and Associates, who were awarded the contract.  Initial estimates for individual residential users to be approximately $45-50 a month for sewer service, based on the US Census.  Once an engineering and design study is complete, there will be more information about the potential for hookup fees and/or waivers of fees have not been determined. In general, a well maintained septic tank is  more expensive to individual property owners due to maintenance of tank and proper drain fields.   The project was estimated at $60 million (with The City of Gates included). 

How long will it take to get sewer service to my home?

It is expected this project will take five to seven years to be fully implemented. We encourage you to watch for project updates available at your local city hall and on this site as the project progresses.

How are we going to pay for this?

A combination of state and federal grants, watershed fees, and revenue bonds will be necessary to fund this project. Water source protection is a shared concern among many communities in the North Santiam Watershed and funds will be necessary from those who benefit from the watershed.

What if we do nothing, or what is the alternative?

The alternative is that when septic systems or drain fields fail, the cost of septic system replacement will be higher. In some cases where lot sizes are small, shallow water table exists or has an unfavorable soil composition; new septic or occupancy permits cannot be authorized by regulation for the replacement of a septic system. This is a current reality for some properties in Detroit, Gates, Idanha, and Mill City is likely to need upgrades to their current wastewater system in the next decade and can benefit from a joint sewer project.

Who is leading this project?

Members of the North Santiam Sewer Project Task Force, business owners, city leaders, watershed partners, and Marion County.

How much is this project costing my city?

To date, the cities of Detroit, Gates, Idanha and Mill City have not put any funds towards this project. Funding has been made available for this project to date by Oregon Business and Marion County. Future grant funding will be sought once the project components solidify.

How can I help?

You can help by volunteering your time and talents to the North Santiam Joint Sewer project or other North Santiam watershed projects. In combination, diverse watershed projects help to create multiple barrier protection for local drinking water. Local leadership of the sewer project helps to ensure the needs of each community are fully represented.

This project is large and will likely run into barriers along the way. You can help by staying engaged and voicing your support or opposition as the project moves along through the North Santiam Joint Sewer Project Work Group appointed by your city council.

I'm a North Santiam Watershed User

Do I need to worry about the current water quality?

Water quality is regularly monitored and tested by state and local officials. Public notification of harmful water quality is required by ORS 333-061-0042.


State water quality monitoring consumer data is available at the Oregon Public Health website here. 

I'm a Legislator

What can I do to aid the implementation of the North Santiam Joint Sewer Project?

The current estimated cost of the North Santiam Joint Sewer Project is $59 million. Direct appropriations from the legislature to fund property purchases for sewer assets and/or funding for the  planning, engineering, design and the construction of sewer components and initial operations would benefit more than 220,000 water users.

Legislators could provide some financial relief by modifying the "Three Basin Rule" to allow for Class A water discharge into the North Santiam River. The rule, as it stands, creates an inequitable financial burden on upstream rural watershed users to a greater benefit to downstream urban users. This rule eliminates lower cost, generally accepted options that could be implemented and offer the local communities an opportunity for long-term economic viability.

I'm an Agency Official

What can I do to help the North Santiam Joint Sewer Project?

Your expertise and assistance to move this project forward would be welcomed as we navigate the regulatory aspects of initiating a sewer district, implementing clean water protocols, negotiating with local partners and communities, funding for real estate assets, funding for the planning, engineering, design, the construction of sewer components, and initial operations of a sewer district.

Additionally, assistance in the development of immediate alternatives for those properties that are unable to comply with current septic requirements would greatly increase the successful completion of this project.

To inquire further, contact Shelley Engle at 503-740-0296.

I'm a Supporter of this Project and the Protection of Water Sources

What can I do to help protect this valuable water source?

Ask your city the source of their water supply. If the source is the North Santiam River, ask your city to institute a monthly watershed protection fee to contribute to the North Santiam Joint Sewer Project and the North Santiam Watershed protection activities. Investments throughout the North Santiam Watershed include stewardship and distribution efficiency, discharge and run-off control, terrestrial aquatic and marine habitat management, flow management that provides for adequate supply and the long term health of the communities that utilize the watershed.

I am Interested in Contracting on this Project

Where can I find out more information about contracting opportunities?

The RFQ has been posted!  Requests for proposals for contractors is published on the Oregon Procurement Information Network (ORPIN) and on this website.

© 2020 All Rights Reserved by North Santiam Sewer Authority

Welcome visitor number