ILWACO - After weeks of research, budget calculations and deliberation, the Ilwaco City Council approved an ordinance Monday that establishes a procedure for adjusting water bills resulting from metered water leaks.

The document states that, "In the event a leak or failure of a private water system or private service between the meter and the structure located on private property results in excess consumption, the city may, through a determination of the city administration, provide for a billing adjustment to credit that portion of the overcharge in excess of 300 percent of the average charge, calculated as a result of the leak. Leaks due to failure of internal plumbing are specifically not covered by the provisions of this ordinance. This includes leaking faucets, leaking toilets, leaking appliances, etc."

Officially going into effect this weekend, the ordinance allows a leak billing adjustment once per meter in a three-year period.

The council adopted a greenhouse gas emission reduction policy; authorized the mayor to submit a $600,000 Transportation Improvement Board grant application for Brumbach and School streets; approved insurance coverage renewal with the Cities Insurance Association of Washington provided by Rice Insurance, LLC; and authorized City Treasurer Elaine McMillan to surplus the city's used water meters, vehicles and some equipment.

Councilors were also treated to a Black Lake water quality presentation by eighth graders Stephanie Kelly, Keegan Windrich and James Kulm. The students have regularly performed six tests at Black Lake, measuring pH, temperature, nitrates, phosphates, turbidity and dissolved oxygen. After testing the lake's water quality for four consecutive months at the pier, the outflow, the southeast corner and in a unspecified deep area, the group said that on July 28 they found detectible measurements of E. Coli in all four locations. Since they started their testing in April, the kids reported that the pH and dissolved oxygen levels have decreased and the temperature and turbidity levels have increased. At the conclusion of their presentation, the students asked the council what the city will do now that they know E. Coli is present in Black Lake, how that project would be funded, and who would be the stakeholders in the project.

Greene responded and said that since there are positive indicators of E. Coli in the lake that maybe the city should look into measuring the levels of the bacteria, possibly with the help of a water quality expert. He added that it may be worthwhile to find out the source and type of the E. Coli bacteria. He explained that the project would be funded by an implementation grant with the Department of Ecology, and said the project's stakeholders are Ilwaco residents and users of the lake.

In staff reports, Planning Commission Chair Don Parsons announced that Debbie Goforth has resigned from the Planning Commission and her seat needs to be filled. He also asked the council for an extension and the funding needed for the Planning Commission to continue working on the Comprehensive Plan.

In council reports, Chin thanked Dave McKee for his help in the crosswalk project.

Greene, Forner and Cassinelli thanked McMillan for her outstanding work during the city's recent audit.

During his mayor's report, Cassinelli clarified that the city lost its $3 million lawsuit against its insurance company in 2009; the $475,000 settlement was a mediation between the city, Association of Washington Cities, Affiliated FM, and former city attorney David Nelson's insurance company, Travelers.

Cassinelli added that the city will also be using a citizen suggestion to add "Thank you for visiting" on the back of the Ilwaco signs that greet visitors as they come into town.

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