Tacoma requires sewer line inspections before home sale, or major remodel…but why (or more to the point, why now)?

This article outlines an interesting requirement that the Tacoma city council passed that will take place in October of this year. In short, before any home can be sold or undergo significant remodeling, their must be an inspection of the sewer lines.

The reason is outlined in this article from last week, and basically states that older private sewer systems are allowing rainwater to get into their lines (probably due to degradation). As a result, the public sewer treatment systems get overloaded and can cause raw or almost-raw sewage to seep into the streets and sometimes directly into commencement bay.

The natural consequence of this requirement is that that home sales will suffer. Obviously, this is because in the current market buyers have most of the leverage. If a seller finds there is a problem in the sewer line, he may have to repair it (likely a very costly endeavor), or may have to reduce the price on the home significantly. Worst of all, the seller may simply lose the sale altogether.

The real question is why now? Does the City of data that shows this is an urgent need? While we are all sensitive to environmental concerns, I would hope that the government is trying to also be sensitive to their constituency. Given the current housing climate, significant requirements placed on home sales ought to be reserved until more robust times.

Washington Environmental Practices Impact Gravel Pits

Chambers Bay #6TAccording to The News Tribune, Puget Sound area municipalities are having to balance the needs of their growing populations with the impact to their ecosystems.  At the heart of the debate is whether sand and gravel mines are going to be allowed in Western Washington, with many opponents asserting that the Puget Sound is simply too complex an environment to support these installations.  Proponents of gravel mines argue that they are a necessary element of development.

This article outlines the growing tension between powerful environmental lobbies and the business community.  At present, organizations such as People for Puget Sound are pushing for ever more limitations and environmental regulations for gravel pits.

Companies like Glacier Northwest argue that they are doing all in their power to lessen the impact to the environment that their activities produce, however, they argue that their service is necessary.  In the end, they hope that their activities will yield a net positive effect (like the Chambers Bay Golf Course).