TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services says the town of Steilacoom has overcharged millions of dollars to provide sewer service to Western State Hospital and has filed a lawsuit.
The News Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/1UAPlX8) that the Attorney General’s Office filed the lawsuit on Jan. 20 in Pierce County Superior Court.
State officials say that for more than two decades Steilacoom has overcharged for Western State Hospital’s use of the sewer system.
“Currently, Pierce County charges Steilacoom $33,397 per month to treat the sewage from Western State Hospital,” DSHS spokeswoman Kelly Stowe told the newspaper in an email. “Steilacoom in turn charges WSH $81,720 per month.”
The hospital is about 40 percent of Steilacoom’s sewer system.
“It’s two willing parties that entered into those agreements,” Steilacoom Town Administrator Paul Loveless said. “The town has simply continued the process set forth in the agreements.”
Since 1964, the town has provided sewer service to the hospital. The town contracted with Pierce County in 1987 to run its wastewater through the county’s Chambers Creek Wastewater Regional Treatment Plant. Western State continued its sewer service with the town, which passed the wastewater to the county. New agreements have followed over the decades.
The state says it paid the full $1.27 million in 1988 to hook up to the county’s plant, but has been charged nearly $10,000 a month since 1990 for the connection. The lawsuit contends that adds up to more than $3 million.
Information from: The News Tribune, http://www.thenewstribune.com