Astoria, Oregon, will close a free RV dump station in an effort to avoid overloading the city’s wastewater system. The dump station is a vulnerability in a wastewater system experiencing higher annual loads, and if the system were deemed unable to handle these higher loads, Public Works Department staff told the City Council Monday, it could trigger a state requirement to build a new, technical plant estimated to cost around $50 million. The city does not monitor the station and does not track what gets dumped there, reported The Daily Astorian.
The staff, hoping to extend the useful life of the system, are identifying problem spots like the dump station. They have sent flyers out to residential customers, reminding them of what should and should not be flushed down a toilet – “A toilet is not a trash can!” – and working with large industrial users like local breweries.
Fort Stevens State Park also provides RV dump services. After the Astoria dump station closes on Dec. 31, users will be able to go there instead, staff said.
A handful of residents also asked the City Council to keep the dump station open. It’s not just for tourists passing through, they said.
Dan Sealy, who lives in city limits, uses the dump station occasionally and opposed the closure. He pointed out that public restrooms are “open portals, too.” The dump station is a small entry into the larger system, he said.
“I appreciate their concern about keeping our system in good shape,” he added. “I don’t want to see us have to spend $50 million but I can’t imagine this one little RV station is what’s going to cause us to have to build the new system.”
William Olson, from Svensen, also wondered what homeless people living out of their RVs will use, arguing that they will dump where it is convenient if the station isn’t open. The Fort Stevens dump station is not open all day, he said. The next closest public dump stations are in Rainier and Wheeler, both almost 60 miles away from Astoria.
He argued that the influx of tourists in the summer and their use of restrooms in town probably has more of an overall impact than the RV dump station.