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Aphids are small (less than 1/4 inch long), soft-bodied insects that suck sap from leaves, twigs, or roots. Depending on the species and the plants they feed on, they may appear:
They are pear-shaped insects with long legs and antennae. Adult aphids can be winged or wingless. They are often clustered on new growth.
Although aphids are most common in spring and summer, some species mate and produce eggs in fall or winter, which provides them a more hardy stage to survive harsh weather. Under ideal temperatures, many aphid species can complete their life cycle in less than 2 weeks, and because of their prolific reproductive capacity, enormous populations of aphids can build up in a short time.
There are many thousands of species of aphids around the world. Aphids are plant specific and do not transfer from one type of plant to another. There are rose aphids, birch aphids, and the list goes on. Anywhere there are plants there are aphids.
Aphids have a life span between a few weeks and a few months.
They provide food for many small insects and other invertebrates.
Although aphids seldom kill a plant, the damage and unsightly mold growth they cause sometimes warrant control. Aphids cause curling, yellowing, and distortion of leaves and stunting of shoots. In urban environments, aphids can produce copious amounts of “honeydew” excretion, which often turns black with the growth of a sooty mold fungus. Sooty mold is usually just unsightly, coating leaves with a black residue, but can kill a small tree that is already under stress.
Check plants frequently for aphids, including the undersides of leaves. Look for curled green leaves and/or wilted buds. Many species of aphids cause the greatest damage when temperatures are 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The presence of ants often indicate aphids, because ants act as “farmers,” protecting the aphids, in order to harvest their honeydew excretions.
First, ask yourself if the impact they cause warrants getting rid of them. If there is little damage, some aphids are okay. Even in our urban environment, aphids have natural predators (such as lady bugs) that will keep the population under control. We actually want some aphids in order to sustain the predators so they can reproduce to eat more aphids! The key here is not to panic if a few aphids are feeding on a tree.
A heavy rainfall usually reduces aphid population. If there is no rain in the forecast, the easiest thing to do is to wash off the aphids with a strong jet of water one morning per week (morning is best, allowing the leaves to dry during the day). Doing it more than once a week helps keep the population down. You can wash leaves when you’re watering your young tree, washing your car, or watering plants.
If aphids are causing sufficient damage to warrant further treatment, or if washing with plain water has not worked, we suggest one of two insecticides. Always follow manufacturer’s application instructions:
Keep in mind, using a broad spectrum insecticide will kill ladybugs, lacewings, parasitic wasps, and other beneficial insects that feed on aphids.
Cart placement is important. The right cart in the right place ensures the collection trucks can maneuver in and out of areas quickly and safely. The mechanical arms on the collection trucks need to have an unobstructed access to both your garbage and recycling containers. Correct cart placement also helps reduce the time trucks spend idling, saving fuel.
Remember these three steps when setting your container(s) out for collection
Here are some helpful tips to remember when setting your cart(s) out for collection:
Check out these other things to remember regarding your garbage and recycling cart:
All concerns/complaints to the city must be done so in written or electronic form. In order to ensure that every concern is appropriately addressed and to protect complainants from possible reprisal, every complainant must provide a written or electronic statement regarding the nature of their complaint. Complainants must provide their contact information, but can indicate that they wish to remain anonymous/confidential. (If a case were to make its way to court, it is possible that a judge could require a complainant to be named if their testimony is pertinent to the case) If you have any questions or wish to file a concern/complaint, visit Ask Longview. You will find the Submit Request button at the bottom of that page.
To report graffiti within Longview city limits, please call the police non-emergency number at 360-442-5800. If the graffiti does not get removed within two weeks, call the Code Compliance Division at 360-442-5093.
All yards must be free from overgrown grass and weeds. Grass and shrub areas should be mowed, trimmed and kept weed-free. Lawn grass and weeds should not exceed 12-inches in height. Mow and trim ditch lines and right-of-way along the roadway.
If you have a complaint regarding an animal, the appropriate jurisdiction to call is the Humane Society of Cowlitz County, at 360-577-0151.
It is the city’s responsibility to maintain the alley roadways, such as grading and filling potholes. All other maintenance issues, such as overgrown vegetation, yard waste piles or illegally dumped household furnishings such as couches and mattresses are the responsibility of the adjacent property owner to maintain, remove and properly dispose of.
Any person owning, managing, renting or having control of property within the city must keep it in a condition that meets city regulated minimum maintenance standards set out in the Longview Municipal Code. Properties are to be kept free of unsightly accumulations of materials including, but not limited to:
When the Code Compliance division receives a complaint about a particular violation, the complaint is investigated. If it is determined that a violation exists, the owner of the property is sent a notice to correct the violation(s) within 14 days. If no progress is made within the 14-day period, a $500 fine per violation could be assessed against the owner.
The Code Compliance division will always look to resolve complaints by communicating with the owner or tenant and getting the problem resolved without having to initiate the enforcement process. In those instances where voluntary compliance could not be reached, or if the successful resolution would take longer than 14 days, a Voluntary Compliance Agreement (VCA) is the only way to avert enforcement and subsequent penalties. In determining the new deadlines for the VCA, the city will usually ask the owner or tenant what kind of time they would need to resolve the violation. If the city feels the proposed date is reasonable, those deadlines are put into the VCA, which would need to be signed by the owner or tenant to become effective.
As long as the problem is being addressed, the city will work with the owner or tenant in bringing the problem into compliance. That flexibility must be supported by the city is satisfied that the owner or tenant is working to get the problem corrected. As an example, going out once a week to move a few things around will not be construed as the owner or tenant working in earnest to resolve the problem, and any subsequent request to grant additional time outlined in the VCA will likely be denied.
Residents may conduct “garage,” “yard,” “estate,” or “moving” sales from their residences up to 20 days per calendar year. Each sales event may not exceed 4 consecutive days and the goods must be removed between sales. In addition:
Any vehicle which is visible from public or private view that is inoperable, wrecked or dismantled, and/or is not registered or licensed must be stored/parked within an enclosed structure or screened from public view by a fence at least 6-feet tall. For a definition of “screened,” refer to LMC 16.30 Section 202 of the Longview Municipal Code. This includes such other vehicles as all-terrain, boats or personal watercraft vehicles.
An approved parking surface is defined as a permitted parking space designed for all motorized or non-motorized vehicles and is to be constructed using either asphalt or Portland cement concrete. All approved surfaces must also meet property setback requirements and measure 9 feet by 20 feet or 8.5 feet by 18 feet for compact spaces.
Swimming pools that have a depth of 24-inches or more are required by state law to be completely enclosed by a barrier or fence 48-inches or higher. For additional information, contact the Building Department at 360-442-5084 or the Code Compliance division at 360-442-5093.
In the interest of ensuring public safety, in addition to the required front address numbers, those dwellings and businesses that have alley access are required to display their addresses with 5-inch numbers at the rear of the dwelling, shop, garage or business in a way that is clearly visible from the alley. Addresses on the backside are also very helpful when Waste Control tries to locate your address if the collection of your garbage or recycling is missed.
In an effort to serve you better, we have compiled common information that residents often require plus created an easy way for you to communicate with us. If you do not find what you are looking for, go ahead, ask a question, request a service, or give us some feedback. We are here to serve you! Ask Longview.
Composting is nature's process of recycling decomposed organic materials into a rich soil known as compost. Anything that was once living will decompose. Basically, backyard composting is an acceleration of the same process nature uses. By composting your organic waste, you are returning nutrients back into the soil in order for the cycle of life to continue. Finished compost looks like soil - dark brown, crumbly, and smelling like a forest floor.
Composting ideas to consider:
The Washington State University’s (WSU) Extension Office has various examples of composting at the Master Gardener demonstration garden located at the fairgrounds. They have several worm bins there that are on display. In addition, they also have a WSU Master Gardner volunteer who oversees the worms and can provide you with free worms to help get you started! If you are interested, please contact the Extension Program Director at 360-577-3014, ext 3. or by email and you will be connected to the WSU Master Gardener volunteer.
Grass-cycling is the simple practice of leaving grass clippings on the lawn when mowing. Once cut, grass clippings first dehydrate, then decompose and quickly disappear from view.
A comprehensive plan is an in-depth look at all the things that make up our city:
That sets the City’s goals, objectives, and policies related to each. The plan anticipates how much our population will grow over time and what the City will need to do in terms of guiding development and facilitating economic prosperity to offer future residents a good quality of life. In turn, the plan serves as the basis for development regulations such as zoning and permit requirements. It also provides a foundation for the City’s future investments in public infrastructure such as parks, roads, and public buildings.
The 2019 Comprehensive Plan can be viewed on this page: Longview Comprehensive Plan
Cowlitz County and the cities within it are not subject to the full state Growth Management Act (GMA). However, Longview is subject to the planning and zoning requirements for “code cities,” a particular form of governmental organization (Chapter 35A.63 RCW).
This statute sets minimal requirements for comprehensive planning, which must include land use (“the proposed general distribution, general location, and extent of the uses of land,” including environmental protection) and circulation (“the general location, alignment, and extent of existing and proposed major thoroughfares, major transportation routes, and major terminal facilities”). A number of other topics may also be included.
The land-use and circulation provisions must correlate, and the development regulations are consistent with the comprehensive plan. In addition, Cowlitz County jurisdictions must designate and work toward preserving natural resource lands, as well as planning for and regulating critical areas such as wetlands and floodplains.
A comprehensive plan is intended to take a 20-year look into the future, but it’s also intended to be a “living document” that is periodically revisited to make sure it’s still on-point for the community. Longview’s current comprehensive plan was adopted in 2006, and its demographics are based on the 2000 federal census. Many of the priorities stated in the plan have either been accomplished or may have changed over time. By keeping the plan up to date and relevant, we will ensure that local decisions on laws, regulations, programs, and services are geared toward the community’s vision of Longview’s future.
Broad public outreach and participation are an important part of “getting it right” when a city develops or reevaluates its comprehensive plan. The City of Longview will be working with community members and its Planning Commission and City Council throughout the remainder of 2017 to complete the update that was started in 2015. We invite you to take a look at the following background information that was prepared for the Planning Commission as part of the update process:
View chapters of the current comprehensive plan, which was adopted in December 2006:
Comprehensive Plan - December 2006
Ordinance Number 3244 (PDF) - Amending Comprehensive Plan policies regarding annexation - April 2013
There are many varieties of fish that can be fished for in the lake, such as:
Fishing regulations for the lake are set by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife so it is important to check their fishing regulations book for correct information, size limits and catch limits.
Anyone 15 and older must have a valid fishing license with them while fishing at the lake. Kids 14 and under do not need to have a license to fish.
The Fish and Wildlife Department does enforce these rules at the lake so be sure you are familiar with the regulations. Local sporting goods stores that sell fishing gear are also good sources of information.
The lake gets stocked with trout 4 to 5 times per year. These fish come from various hatcheries from around the state. Most trout that are planted in the lake are from 6 inches to 14 inches in length. Broodstock trout (the really big ones!) are also planted a few times a year as well. These fish can weigh up to ten pounds!
All other fish except trout, reproduce naturally in the lake. Some bass have been caught that have weighed up to five pounds! Some carp can weigh up to 20 pounds!
Remember to check the Fish and Wildlife regulations book for size and catch limits if you are unsure. You can also view stocking reports from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
We encourage you to place your garbage and/or recycling container out for collection the night before your scheduled pickup day and bring them back within 24 hours after they have been emptied.
Waste Control will make every effort to get all garbage and recycling containers collected during severe weather conditions, such as flooding or snow events. If an event occurs and your neighborhood is not collected, Waste Control will go back as soon as it is safe to do so. If a miss collection is anticipated, Waste Control will contact the news media in an effort to notify its customers.
Household hazardous waste is accepted at the Waste Control Transfer Station every Tuesday and Saturday from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Items accepted include:
Learn more about hazardous waste.
Unused medicines can be brought to the Household Hazardous area at the Waste Control Transfer Station every Tuesday and Saturday, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Place the medicine into a container, such as a plastic soda bottle, with enough water to dissolve the medicines, and secure the lid with strong, sturdy tape. Unwanted or unused medicines can also be brought to the Longview Police Department, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Place your used or unused needles into a container, such as a plastic soda bottle, and secure the lid with strong, sturdy tape. Bring the container to the Household Hazardous area at the Waste Control Transfer Station, at no charge, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
E-waste is also known as electronic-waste, and generally includes such items as televisions, computers, monitors, and laptops. These items can be brought to the Waste Control Transfer Station. Learn more about e-waste.
If you have household furniture that you no longer need, such as couches, mattresses, chairs or televisions, please do not place them in the alley. Please bring the items to the Waste Control Transfer Station for proper disposal or contact Waste Control at 360-425-4302. There will be a modest charge for either of these options.
While we recognize that a majority of these instances are doing illegally, unless the City can get information about who may have placed those items there (license plate, description of the vehicle, etc.), the City has no choice but to require the adjacent property owner to remove and properly dispose of those items. Even though these items may be placed in the City right-of-way, it is the responsibility of the adjacent property owner to keep that portion of the alley clean of debris, tall grass, overgrown vegetation, etc.
Please call the store that owns the cart. If it remains after three days, or if there is no store name on the cart, please call the city’s Code Compliance division at 360-442-5093.
All permits have required inspections that we will need to perform. The cost of the inspection is built-in to your permit cost in most circumstances.
To request an inspection, you can schedule via our online scheduler or call 360-442-5090. If you receive an error trying to schedule online, please call into the automated phone system.
Inspections are performed Monday - Thursday from 7:30AM to 5PM. Please request your inspection at least the day before you need it to allow us time to schedule you and ensure we can fit you into our schedule.
If you need to cancel a scheduled inspection, please call our office main line or email us at email@example.com and we can help you.
Generally it is preferred that the person requesting an inspection have a representative onsite in case we have any issues finding the location of the work, gaining access to inspect, or if there are any pets on the property which may not appreciate us being in their territory. If you can't be onsite, please be sure that your permit document is easily accessible for our inspectors to record their results on for your records, and that the work is easily accessible and free from potential hazards.
Please stop into our office or apply online for a permit. The cost is generally between $54 and $64 and will include a single inspection of the service/meter, and a call to PUD to approve re-energizing. To make the process smooth, please make sure you have documentation that you can provide proving ownership of the property.
At this time, only projects in our "One-Stop" category can be applied for or issued online.
Examples of "One-Stop" permits are:
Essentially, any project we do NOT need plans to review would be online-eligible.
Visit https://longview_wa.permittrax.com/Citizen and create an account to start applying for permits online.
There are currently two places where we keep permit records online.
The first, which houses our more-recent permits is our online permit system. You can see active projects on the homepage map, and search by address (or permit number) via the search function.
The second place is our online repository for archived documents. Archived documents go back to the 1920's in some cases, and include many scanned permits, code enforcement, and other documents which can help with property research and permit history.
If you are expecting to find something that you don't see in either system - just reach out and let us know what you are looking for. We'll do our best to help! Email us your inquiry for the best response: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We made a helpful guide and are updating it frequently. It's available for download here.
Generally we do not accept plans or submittals via email, except in cases where we are currently reviewing an ongoing project and specifically request a submittal be emailed to us.
In general: Residential plans can take up to 4 weeks for review and Commercial plans can take up to 5 weeks. These timeframes assume that the initial submittal is perfect and requires no resubmittals, revisions, or additional materials. Depending on the project complexity, whether or not the project requires SEPA or other planning clearances, the timeframe may be extended.
The best way to estimate review time and ensure you are submitting a complete package is to reach out to our office. In most cases, we can put together a checklist of submittal materials to help guide you toward a perfect submittal and faster processing times. For more complex developments, we may suggest having a pre-application meeting with all of our reviewers and planning staff to go over submittal requirements, plan feasibility considerations, and give you a realistic idea of your processing timeframe.
We have some pre-configured checklists here:
And some helpful guides for other projects:
If your incident is an emergency, call 911. If the incident is a non-emergency, call 360-442-5800.
No, if a crime took place outside of the City of Longview Police Department, please contact the police department for that city.
If this took place on a state freeway, please contact the Highway Patrol Office nearest you.
A known suspect is when you or someone else knows the person or where to find the person who committed the crime or the license plate number of the vehicle the suspect(s) were in.
Chain parking is staying within a designated block (defined as a portion of a street, both sides, between two intersections) for more than the allotted time limit. Drivers must move to a new block within the specified time limit.
For example: If you are parked on the 1100 block of Commerce, you must move to the 1200 block or around the corner onto another street to avoid an overtime parking fine.
A boot is an immobilization device that is placed on the tire of a vehicle. A notice is also placed on the vehicle giving the owner 24 hours to pay all outstanding parking fines plus a $50 immobilization fee to have the boot removed.
After 24 hours the vehicle will be impounded and the owner will be required to pay all original fines, the $50 fee, and tow and storage fees to get the vehicle returned.
If your recycling or garbage container is missed, please contact Waste Control at 360-425-4302 or fill out a request form.
If your recycling or garbage container is damaged or missing, please contact the City of Longview at 360-442-5099 or fill out a request form.
Typically, there will be a one week period in which the City will advertise where the trees will be collected either at the curb or in the alley at no charge, or you can drop them off at a selected site for up to thirty days. For those that do not get the tree out at the curb or in the alley in time, please contact Waste Control at 360-425-4302.
The current recycling program accepts:
Learn more about what items are or are not recyclable (PDF) or view an extensive list (PDF) of what items are or are not recyclable.
Yes! The new energy-efficient light bulbs can be recycled one of two ways. Either take them to Home Depot, or you can bring them to the Household Hazardous Waste area at the Waste Control Transfer Station, at no charge, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
The good news is - our curbside program is comingled, so there is no separation necessary for the different materials. Please rinse out any food products. No need to remove paper labels from tin cans or glass containers. Plastic lids from water bottles or milk jugs should be thrown in your green garbage container. Learn more about how to prepare your materials for recycling (PDF).
While plastic bags are recyclable, they are not accepted in Longview’s curbside program. The main reason why they are now accepted is for safety reasons. Most plastic bags are a solid color - either black or white. Workers on the sorting line cannot see the contents in the bags and unfortunately, used needles and hazardous materials have been found. So, help keep employees safe and do not place your recyclables in plastic bags.
The tag you have received is either a brown “Education Notice,” or a red “Violation Notice.” You should see one (or more) of the boxes checked to see what the Notice was issued for. Please look on the back to learn more about the garbage and recycling guidelines. Learn more about the recycling inspection program.
Unless you can provide us with a description of the vehicle (license plate, vehicle, etc.) or if you can tell us where the illegal material came from, such as a neighbor, then, unfortunately, you still become responsible for the contents that are found in your brown recycling container. One key to minimize this from happening is to remove your containers from the alley after they have been emptied. We do find that many residents keep their containers in the alley all the time - leaving them susceptible for others to use and abuse.
No! The inspector will only look into those recycling containers placed at the curb or in the alley for collection. They will not go onto private property to do any inspections.
In 2006, the City’s recycling program reached an all-time high with a contamination rate of 44.8%. This means that close to half of all the material collected in the brown recycling containers was garbage or other similar contaminants. This high level of contamination is simply unacceptable. In an effort to reduce recycling contamination, the Longview City Council approved a recommendation to implement the current recycling inspection program.
Contamination occurs when garbage or other similar items are disposed of improperly in the brown recycling container. When you are not sure whether an item is recyclable, check out the Recycle list Yes-No (PDF). You can also send an email to the Solid Waste and Recycling Manager, or discard questionable items in your green garbage container.
While plastic bags are recyclable, they are not accepted in Longview’s curbside program. There are two main reasons why plastic bags are not accepted:
To avoid contaminating your recyclable material, view the Recycle list Yes-No (PDF) for detailed information, or send an email to the Solid Waste and Recycling Manager if you have a specific recycling question.
Yes, effective March 2012 the city council decided that the City of Longview is no longer responsible for a customer’s main line. If a customer has a backup it is up to the customer to hire a private company to determine the problem. If it is determined that the clog is a result of a “soft plug” such as grease rags, towels, or other items that shouldn't have been flushed down the toilet or washed down the drain, the homeowner must pay to clear the line. If the defect is caused by a break or tree roots in the right of way, then the city will come and repair the line and the customer can be reimbursed for any costs associated with fixing the line.
View the Sewer Diagram (PDF) to better visualize this distinction.
If you are a new customer, your garbage and recycling service is part of a bundled utility, where it also includes services for water, sewer, and stormwater. To set up a new account, please contact the Finance Department at 360-442-5059.Please note that currently, recycling services are only provided to residential customers and not commercial. If you are a new commercial business, Waste Control Recycling can set you up with recycling services to collect either office paper or cardboard. They will coordinate a schedule that accommodates your needs and will bill you directly. If you are interested or have questions, please contact Waste Control Recycling at 360-425-4302.
Typically, the need to stop your garbage or recycling service is because you are moving or a tenant has left a rental unit. As noted above, because the utility charges are all bundled together, we do not have the means to stop only the garbage and recycling charges. When you stop service, all of the utility charges are stopped, including water, sewer, and stormwater. If you are moving or a tenant has vacated a property and you need to temporarily stop these services, please call the City Utilities Division at 360-442-5059.
There are two methods by which the street vacation process may be started:
Yes. Whichever method is utilized to initiate the street vacation, a public hearing must be held. This may be held before the full council or before a subcommittee of the council. If held before a subcommittee, then the subcommittee must report its recommendation to the full council for a final decision.
Normally the abutting property owners become the owners of the vacated property because the property owner on each side of the street owns to the centerline. This is because in most situations the street dedication on a plat merely grants an easement to the city for public travel and the underlying fee ownership of the street remains with the abutting property owners. Therefore, when the city vacates its easement, the abutting property owners on each side of the street become the owners of the land.
Although this is rare, occasionally the city actually owns the underlying fee to the street area as well as the easement for public travel. If this is the case, then when the property is vacated the city becomes the fee owner of the vacated area. Ownership can be determined by a title search if there is doubt.
Yes. Many cities charge an initial fee for the street vacation application. In addition, state law allows the city to require compensation for the vacated easement in an amount that does not exceed one-half the appraised value of the area so vacated. See the Revised Code of Washington 35.79.030 for more details.
Yes. The ordinance vacating the street may provide that the city retain an easement to construct, repair and maintain public utilities in the vacated area.
Yes, this is required. A certified copy of the ordinance granting the vacation must be recorded by the clerk and a copy must be sent to the office of the auditor of the county in which the land is located.
Yes. It is not necessary that the entire street area be vacated. For example, a strip along one side of the street may be vacated if that is all that is desired or needed by the abutting property owner. Also, the full street along part of a block may be vacated.
State law prohibits a city or town from vacating a street if any portion of the street of alley abuts a body of fresh or salt water unless very specific procedures are followed. These procedures are outlined in the Revised Code of Washington 35.79.035 and should be checked very carefully before attempting to vacate any such street.
Not any longer. There was an old statute which was enacted in 1889 which provided for the automatic vacation of county roads which remained unopened for five years after being platted or dedicated. This statute was amended in 1909 so that it no longer applied to platted streets and alleys. Therefore, this statute only applied to roads which were county roads and remained unopened for five years after dedication between 1889 and 1909.
Obviously, this is not going to apply in very many situations but occasionally reference is still made to the provision and it is found to be applicable.
The basic eligibility criteria as defined in the resolution include the following definitions:
Also included in income are any contributions received from any family member or other people who are living in the same residence as the applicant for reduced utility rates, and who is helping defray such applicant's living costs.
Customers qualifying for the utility rate relief program shall receive a 50% reduction on the sanitary sewer residential base rate and a 50% reduction on the single-family residential rate for garbage/recycling service. In addition, all applicants qualifying for the City’s utility rate relief program shall be exempt from stormwater utility charges.
Residents who wish to apply for the discount program should complete the rate relief application (PDF), either by printing it at home and bringing it to the Utilities Customer Service Counter at the Finance Department or coming into the Finance Department to pick up an application. Complete the application, attach the appropriate documentation, and return the form in person or by mail to the Finance Office:Longview City Hall1525 Broadway StreetP.O. Box 128Longview, WA 98632
You may phone the City Utility Billing department at 360-442-5099 or email Susan Chamberlain for further information on this program.
If unusually high water flows occur in the water mains to due a main break, firefighting efforts, or during system flushing, then a customer’s water may be brown or orange in color. In this case, the water should clear up within several hours. Please not that the discolored water is still safe to drink. The City of Longview Utility Department conducts a flushing program to remove sediment that accumulates in the water main to minimize these causes of discolored water.
Your water meter generally will be in front of your property line by the street or at your property line by the alley way.
If you still have trouble locating your water meter please contact the Utility Operations Center at 360-442-5700.
The Mint Farm Regional Water Treatment Plant, which takes water from underground. To learn more about our water system, visit the Water Treatment Division web page.
That depends on where you live in Longview. Please contact the Utility Operations Center 360-442-5700.
Sediment and scale have built up on cast iron pipe walls over the past 75 years due to the corrosivity of the river water supply. Changes in water chemistry and increased flushing at higher velocities have dislodged some of these materials, which are now coming out of the system when the City performs flushing activities. As the system stabilizes, a decrease in flushed sediment is expected.
No. The pH targets for river water and groundwater sources are the same, approximately 7.6 to 7.7 leaving the plant. Upon startup of the groundwater plant, the pH was a bit lower, so it was increased to meet the established target.
The Fisher’s Lane water treatment plant was constructed in 1946. Despite capacity upgrades in 1960 and 1980 and a regulatory upgrade in 1998, the facility was aged and failing. Several concrete structures had deteriorated to the point that it was not practical to rebuild. The plant struggled to keep up with demand due to frequent mechanical and structural failures. Eleven filters failed over a period of ten years, including three catastrophic failures which were declared emergencies in order to expedite repair.
If the existing water treatment plant were to have been rehabilitated, it would have been necessary to keep the plant in operation throughout construction. To do that, construction would have had to be phased to meet water demand year-round while constructing improvements. Three phases of construction were expected to require roughly nine years and $52.6 Million to complete – approximately $18 million more than the cost of the new groundwater supply.
Volcanic debris continues to wash down the Toutle and Cowlitz Rivers from Mount Saint Helens. In spring and winter, high turbidity caused by suspended sediment significantly reduced plant capacity. Turbidity in the river can exceed 2,000 Nephelometric Turbidity Units (NTU) during spring run-off and winter storms. Turbid raw water significantly slows the treatment process in order to produce finished water less than 5 NTU to meet drinking water standards.
In the summer, rising sand bars and low water levels threatened to leave the intake dry. In 1986, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) constructed a dam on the Toutle River to capture sediment before it reached the Cowlitz.
By 1998, the dam was full and water began coming over the spillway, bringing silt, sand and sediment with it. In 2002, the USACE projected the Cowlitz River bottom would raise 9-feet at the City’s intake structure by 2034. But four years later, the river had already filled in roughly 12-feet at the mouth of the Cowlitz.
In 2005, the City constructed its own 8-foot sediment dam in front of the intake to keep it from being silted in but the dam was overtopped the next year. The USACE dredged the lower Cowlitz but funds are not available to dredge far enough upriver to reach the intake structure.
The City’s dredging permit to maintain a sump in front of the intake structure and keep it clear of sediment has expired; renewal will require the intake to be upgraded to meet current fish code. The size of the openings in the intake screens is too large to keep out smelt larvae and recently hatched fish. The structure also lacks a fish return to send entrained fish back out to the river, and the flow velocity at the face of the intake screening is too high. Screen failures due to sediment build-up against the screens were already problematic; smaller screen openings would create more plugging problems because coarser sediment would not be able to pass through.
High rate pump testing conducted during pre-design indicated there was an abundant supply of water available from the aquifer. Little draw down has been observed in the deep aquifer since the Mint Farm Regional Water Treatment Plant started producing water, further confirmation the aquifer is a sustainable supply. Static water level is continuously recorded in the deep monitoring wells which surround the Mint Farm wellfield and the data confirms the aquifer is continuously recharged during pumping.
To meet current demand, approximately 5 million gallons per day are pumped from the aquifer and we are confident the aquifer will easily continue to meet our needs as demand grows to 20 million gallons per day, in the future.
No. It is not uncommon for groundwater in the Longview-Kelso area to contain some amount of iron and manganese.
Left untreated, raw water containing iron and manganese will oxidize when exposed to air (as it leaves the tap) and these minerals will change from a colorless, dissolved form to red-brown (iron) or brownish-black (manganese) particles. If not removed from the water, iron can cause reddish-brown staining of:
Manganese acts similarly but causes a brownish-black stain. Soaps and detergents do not remove these stains, and use of chlorine bleach can intensify the stains.
The City treats for iron and manganese removal in order to prevent the problems associated with staining and to prevent the build-up of iron and manganese deposits which can collect in pipes, pressure tanks, water heaters, and water softeners. Temporary water quality issues including discolored water have been experienced in some areas of Longview, particularly in older areas of town where the distribution system is made up of cast iron and galvanized water main pipe. The City is actively working to resolve this problem and continues to flush areas of concern on a regular basis until a long term solution can be implemented.
The problems in the Cowlitz River with moving sandbars and turbid water are not specific to the location of the intake structure at River Mile 5.2. Moving the location of the intake structure to a wider or deeper section or a bend in the river that historically seems to stay scoured out does not address the larger problem of sediment transport. River training structures such as rock dike fields, submerged pile dikes and Iowa vanes have been suggested as a way to improve water flow but all of these would require extensive modeling evaluation and there is disagreement amongst river experts about whether or not it would work. Rock vanes installed in front of the intake structure in 2005 to promote flushing flows across the face of the intake were buried by sediment within the first year of operation.
The Cowlitz River and Columbia River are federally defined as navigable waterways and fall under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Construction in or over the river, excavation or discharge of material into the river, or any work which affects the course, location, condition, or capacity of the river requires approval and permitting from multiple state and federal agencies. The permitting process to construct a new intake structure on the Cowlitz River or Columbia River is expected to be lengthy, difficult and expensive.
To further complicate the situation, NOAA Fisheries is taking a close look at adding Pacific Smelt to the list of Endangered Species in response to a recent petition from the Cowlitz Tribe urging smelt protection in the Columbia River and its tributaries. Salmon and steelhead fish are already listed as endangered species, making the process and conditions of any permit to construct and operate a new intake very complex, if it is possible at all.
Finally, the cost of a relocating the intake to a presumed better location on the Cowlitz River or to the Columbia River, together with rehabilitating the existing water treatment plant, was evaluated early on in the planning process and determined to be not cost effective. In order to avoid similar sedimentation problems at a new intake on the Cowlitz River, the intake would need to be located upstream of the confluence of the Toutle River (the primary source of the sediment).
The distance from an intake structure at either location to the water treatment plant on Fisher’s Lane and the need for a river crossing in order to route a raw water main back to the plant make the total project cost prohibitive. In 2007, the cost to install an intake structure upstream on the Cowlitz River and rehabilitate the existing water treatment plant was estimated at $66 Million. And the cost to install a Columbia River intake and rehabilitate the existing water treatment plant was estimated at $72 Million.
The groundwater contains small amounts of naturally occurring iron, manganese and arsenic. Iron and manganese are not considered a risk to human health and federal regulations do not require treatment to remove them from drinking water. Many people take vitamin and mineral supplements containing iron and manganese, and when ingested in small concentrations, both can provide a health benefit. However, at the concentrations found in the Mint Farm aquifer, state regulations do require treatment because iron and manganese cause objectionable aesthetic issues like taste, odor, color and a tendency to stain. The City plans to treat for iron and manganese removal in order to produce high quality drinking water and prevent those types of problems.
The groundwater also contains trace amounts of naturally occurring arsenic. For many years, the drinking water standard for arsenic was 50 parts per billion (ppb). In 2004, regulations tightened the drinking water standard for arsenic from 50 to 10 ppb to lessen people's long-term exposure.
The groundwater at the Mint Farm contains approximately 6 ppb of arsenic, roughly one-half the allowable limit. At that concentration, drinking water regulations only require that we notify our customers that arsenic exists above the specified reporting level. Our current water source, the Cowlitz River, also contains arsenic but at lower levels. Although not required, the City plans to treat for further arsenic removal and reduce the arsenic concentration to approximately 2 to 3 ppb.
Our testing indicates there is an abundant supply of water available from the aquifer which will ensure a safe and sustainable water supply for years to come.
In the fall of 2009, we constructed and pumped a test production well continuously at a rate of 5.5 million gallons per day for 36 days. While it is typical to pump a test well for only a few days, we pumped for an extended period of time to capture any changes in groundwater quality caused by pumping and confirm the viability of the aquifer as our municipal water supply. Using our network of 17 monitoring wells in and around the Mint Farm, along with sampling from other water sources, we collected and analyzed water quality and flow data.
Our test pumping showed very little effect on the aquifer, and that it recharged continuously during our pumping. We are confident the aquifer will easily meet our needs and remain sustainable when we begin pumping 10 to 20 million gallons per day from the aquifer.
An extensive sampling program collected numerous soil and water samples from multiple locations and performed more than 14,500 analytical tests to identify any potential contaminants in the groundwater. In addition to contaminants that are regulated by the State for drinking water, we also tested for non-regulated contaminants, emerging contaminants (pharmaceuticals and personal care products) that may be of concern in the future, and compounds specific to local industry. In all of these tests, naturally occurring iron, manganese and arsenic were the only contaminants detected at levels which warrant treatment.
In addition, a network of monitoring wells (or sentry wells) has been constructed around the perimeter of the Mint Farm and proposed well field. These monitoring wells will become a critical part of a Well Head Protection Program and will be regularly monitored for changes in water quality. They are intended to safeguard the well field by providing early detection of potential contaminant migration, allowing the City several years advance notice to install additional treatment equipment or implement an alternative solution.
While drilling the first 17 shallow and deep monitoring wells, soil samples were collected to confirm that a confining layer exists which is very resistant to water seepage, and that confining layer protects the deep aquifer from potential contamination at the surface.
In addition, the deep aquifer is under pressure, which prevents potential shallow contamination from migrating into the deep aquifer. We constructed a full size production well and tested the well by pumping it at 5.5 million gallons per day continuously for 36 days and the pressure in the aquifer dropped only the equivalent of 3-feet (less that 2 pounds per square inch), confirming that the aquifer will remain under pressure after our plant begins operation. We collected water samples before, during, and after test pumping, specifically looking for indications of migration of potential contaminants, and actually found that the water quality improved slightly during pump testing.
The deep aquifer has a strong hydraulic connection to the Columbia River. The deep wells show a clear tidal response and the fluctuation of the static water level inside the well column correlates closely with changes in tide. Isotope analysis is a way to match water chemistry signatures of different water sources and draw inferences about where it is coming from.
Although the actual water chemistry is different between the Columbia River and the deep aquifer due to filtration through thick layers sand, silt and gravel, the isotope analysis indicates the deep aquifer is recharged by the Columbia River.
Some customers have reported their tap water smells like chlorine, blood, or metal. The City is committed to providing water that looks, tastes, and smells good, but it is important to note these types of odors are aesthetic and usually do not pose a public health threat. In order to correct the problem, it is first necessary to determine whether the odor originates from the water supply or your household plumbing.
If the odor occurs at every water faucet at the residence, it is probably the main water supply. If it only occurs in certain faucets, the problem is the household plumbing. In most cases, the best way to reduce odor caused by household plumbing is to run the faucet for several minutes. If the smell persists or you have concerns, contact the City of Longview Utility Operations Center at 360-442-5700.
To prevent illness, a small amount of chlorine is added during the water treatment process to kill any bacteria or microorganisms that might be present in the raw water. The chlorine concentration in the finished water supply leaving the Mint Farm Water Treatment Plant is closely monitored, but the amount of chlorine in the water at your home or business varies slightly depending on location. Chlorine is virtually odorless at the proper concentration to maintain a slight residual, but you may detect its odor if the level is too low or too high.
The finished water leaving the Mint Farm Water Treatment Plant has been treated to remove iron, manganese and arsenic from the raw groundwater. However, as the water moves through the distribution system and interacts with the scale build-up inside the water mains, some minerals are dissolved into the water. Iron has been determined to be the most common cause of these odors, but other metals such as copper, zinc, and manganese may also be found.
Bacteria living on food, soap, hair, and other organic matter in the drain / hot water heater can form gases which produce a sulfur or rotten egg small. The bacteria is not a health hazard and it is common to associate the smell with the water because it is most noticeable when the water is turned on.
To confirm the odor is gas pushed out of the drain by the water rather than the water itself, take a glass of cold water into another room to smell it. If the water has no odor, the problem is in the drain and can likely be eliminated by disinfecting the drain to kill the bacteria. If the problem is isolated to the hot water systems, contact a licensed plumber or consult your owner’s manual to evaluate the heating element and/or temperature setting.
Installation of a private water softener is a matter of personal preference. Because residential softening systems replace the calcium and magnesium with sodium, consumers will experience increased salt intake. You are encouraged to research any water softener product, particularly customers with sodium-restricted diets. Water softened by private softening systems tends to be more corrosive to household plumbing than hard water, and it is not recommended for watering plants, lawns and gardens due to higher sodium content.
This information was developed with input from the following sources:
Here are some helpful hints for dealing with hard water:
Hard water minerals may result in the following:
Public water supplies are not typically softened unless the hardness value exceeds 200 milligram per liter. However, in response to hard water complaints, the City Council recently authorized staff to investigate softening alternatives.
The City has teamed with Confluence Engineering to review current and historical hardness and develop a softening treatment goal, evaluate potential softening treatment processes, identify potential health effects, and estimate the cost to construct and operate softening treatment at the Mint Farm Regional Water Treatment Plant. The results of the evaluation will be presented to the City Council to decide whether softening treatment will be implemented.
Prior to making the transition to groundwater wells, the treated surface water from the Cowlitz River was historically “soft”, with a hardness level of approximately 27 milligrams per liter. Groundwater hardness from the Mint Farm aquifer varies slightly among each of the four production wells, ranging from 69 to 91 milligrams per liter. Although the difference in hardness is a change from what our customers are accustomed to, the City of Longview groundwater is similar in hardness to other local water systems.
The City of Longview has permanently switched to groundwater wells for its water supply instead of using water from the Cowlitz River. The wells are drilled deep underground to extract water from a deep aquifer. As the water moves through the underground aquifer, it dissolves and absorbs traces of rock and soil minerals which contain calcium and magnesium, resulting in moderately water hard.
Yes. Hard water is safe for drinking, cooking, and other household uses. Hard water tends to leave white calcium deposits and can make soap more difficult to lather, but it is not dangerous. The State of Washington Department of Health and the federal Environmental Protection Agency do not require treatment to reduce water hardness. Calcium and magnesium are essential nutrients that do not pose a public health hazard and may contribute some health benefit.
Hardness is a measure of naturally occurring calcium and magnesium minerals dissolved in water, the higher the mineral content, the harder the water. The following table classifies hardness by category based on mineral content in milligrams per liter. City of Longview groundwater hardness ranges from 69 to 91 milligrams per liter and is considered to be “moderate”. According to the U.S. Geologic Survey, more than 85% of the United States has hard water.
0 to 60
61 to 120
121 to 180
Greater than 180