3. Utility Services

It is possible that water, sewer, electrical, telephone and other services may be unavailable in certain areas or may not operate at urban standards. Repairs can often take much longer in rural locations than in towns and cities. Please review your options from the non-exhaustive list below:

3.1 Sewer Service

Sewer service is generally not available to rural areas in Klickitat County. You will need to use an approved on-site septic system or other treatment process. The type of soil you have available for a leach-field will be very important in determining the cost and function of your system. Some systems can be very expensive. For existing systems, it is advisable to have the system checked by a reliable sanitation firm and ask for assistance from the Environmental Health Division of the Klickitat County Health District (KCHD).

3.2 Alternative Water Supply

Rural residents generally do not have access to a supply of treated domestic water and will have to locate an alternative supply. The most common sources of water in rural areas are private wells. The cost for drilling and pumping can be considerable. The quality and quantity of well water can also vary considerably from location to location and from season to season. It is strongly advised that you research this issue very carefully for your particular property. Contacts should be made with Klickitat County Public Health Department. The Department of Ecology also has a role in the permitting and regulation of private wells. You may want to consider contacting them for additional input.
Country water tank

3.3 Further Water Needs

Not all wells can be used for watering landscaping and/or livestock. If you have water needs beyond household use, make certain that you have the proper approvals before you invest. Also note that it may be difficult to find enough water to provide for your needs even if you can secure the proper permit. Contacts should be made with the Washington State Department of Ecology, (WDOE) to inquire about water rights.

3.4 Electric Power

Public Utility District No. 1 of Klickitat County provides electrical power to all of Klickitat County and can be reached at 509-773-5891 or 800-548-8357. Copies of the PUD Line Extension Policy are available at the Goldendale and White Salmon offices.

3.5 Determining Electric & Telephone Service

Due to our limited infrastructure, electric service and telephone service may not be readily available in every area of Klickitat County. It is important to determine the proximity of the nearest electric power and/or telephone service, as it can be very expensive to extend utility service power lines in remote areas. It may be necessary to cross property owned by others in order to extend utility service (electrical, telephone, etc.) to your property in the most cost efficient manner. Easements may not be available to access your property with power. You will need to check your title report for existing easements and discuss proposed easements with neighboring landowners that may be affected.

3.6 Underground Power Lines

Overhead power lines cost approximately $20,000 per mile for single-phase lines. Some areas, including the Gorge Scenic Area and selected subdivisions, require new line to be buried underground. If an underground line is required to a permanent residence, the costs will be at least double that of an overhead line. The cost of electric service starts with an amperage charge and line extension cost to hook up to a system. Then there's a monthly charge plus a kWh usage charge for energy consumed. It is important to know both costs before making a decision to purchase a specific piece of property.

3.7 Local Utility District

Check to see if there is an existing or proposed Local Utility District (LUD) with an assessment tied to your parcel of land. Information can be obtained at the PUD or County Treasurer's Office.

3.8 Power Outages

Power outages can occur in outlying areas with more frequency than in more developed areas, particularly if power lines are difficult to access, as in heavy timber areas. A loss of electric power can interrupt your supply of water from a well. Interruptions in power may cause you to lose the food in your freezer or refrigerator and may cause problems with computers as well. If you live in the country it is important to be able to survive a week or longer in severe cold with no utilities. Approved standby power plants are common in this area. Generator noise may be a problem.

3.9 Telecommunication

Telecommunication service to the very rural parts (e.g. mountainous) of the County can be a challenge to provide. Also, even though your property may have existing telephone service, you need to realize that obtaining high-speed data service such as DSL may not be possible because of a distance limitation or a lack of facilities. In addition, wireless (e.g. cellular) phone may not work in all areas.

3.10 Trash & Recycling Services

Trash removal and recycling service is available County wide, with a couple of restrictions. Garbage and recycling vehicles travel only on roads maintained by the County for year round access. As a result, your trash collection or curbside recycling pickup location could be a long distance from your home. If you choose to leave your trash or recycling at the junction of your private road and the County road, you are responsible for making sure you do not create a nuisance for your neighbors. This practice has been disallowed in some areas. Contact the service provider for details on your specific location.

3.11 Trash Transportation

Klickitat County has one of the lowest cost garbage disposal rates in Washington State due to the presence of the Roosevelt Regional Landfill in the county and their policy of "no tipping fee for in-county waste, up to 1,000 tons per year". However, trash removal transportation costs can be more expensive in rural areas than in urban areas. We have "no cost" services for recycling used oil, scrap metal, appliances, paper, cardboard, plastic, aluminum cans, glass beverage containers, automotive batteries and for the proper disposal of household hazardous waste at the transfer stations located in BZ Corners, Dallesport, Goldendale and at the Roosevelt Landfill. Contact Klickitat County Solid Waste for details 509-773-4448.