A petition to place the chloramine water treatment issue in front of city voters was turned in at Ketchikan City Hall Wednesday.
If all of the estimated 622 signatures belong to registered city voters, that’s well above the required 356 needed for the petition to pass the first hurdle.
City Clerk Katy Suiter says it will take at least a couple of days to verify the signatures. If there are enough valid signatures, the city attorney then will review it to make sure the proposed ballot initiative language passes legal muster.
If it survives both reviews, the city must put the initiative before voters within two months. The initiative would ask city voters to prohibit Ketchikan Public Utilities from using chloramine – a mixture of chlorine and ammonia – as part of its water treatment system.
The city has been moving toward a chloramine treatment system for about 10 years. A group called United Citizens for Better Water formed this winter to oppose the switch.
While the initiative process continues, the city is moving ahead with plans to start that new treatment next week. In a memo to the Ketchikan City Council, Water Division Manager John Kleinegger writes that the process will take about five days. It involves testing the equipment and flushing pipes as the new disinfection mixture is distributed throughout Ketchikan’s water system.
Kleinegger’s memo was part of the Ketchikan City Council meeting agenda, although there is no action item on the agenda related to chloramine.
During that meeting, the Council will consider an agreement with Akeela, Inc., to help relocate the Ketchikan Alcohol Rehabilitation House to property on Washington Street donated by PeaceHealth for that purpose.
PeaceHealth also would provide $100,000 to help with the move, according to the agreement. The city would provide $300,000. The estimated cost to renovate the donated building is $747,500.
The Council meeting starts at 7 p.m. Thursday in City Council chambers. Public comment will be heard at the start of the meeting.
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