I am writing to address the issue of sewer fee increases needed to pay for mandatory upgrades to the sewer system (andquot;Sewer rates could rise,andquot; Aug. 17). First, I would like to say that I understand that most people do not like to pay extra for anything whether it be gasoline, the increased price of groceries or, as in this case, the fee increases for a healthy sewage disposal system. Unfortunately, over time costs rise as do wages and basic necessities.

We have been living with a substandard sewage treatment facility for at least 20 years. When my family moved here 19 years ago, the facility was inadequate for the community. Nothing has changed. Essentially the community has been undercharged for 20 years or more. The $10 increase per household per monthis nothing compared to the cost of installing individual septic tanks which is, of course, not economically or environmentally sound. One need only look at the community of Los Osos to see what happens when city lots install individual septic systems. All ground water is polluted and unfit to drink.

In a community where so many are extremely concerned with the water quality of our rivers, streams and oceans, one would think the sewage treatment plant would be a nonissue. Mr. Barrett himself is known for his enjoyment of the waterways and yet is spearheading a demonstration of the very fees which will assure that our waterways will remain pristine. His friend, Eileen Cooper, was charged with polluting the streams. If the treatment plant is funded, her properties could conceivably connect to the system, eliminating her problems for a fraction of the cost of developing an individual system.

Del Norte County is a wonderful place to live. Do we really need tourists to leave here thinking that our sewage treatment consists of pumping all partially treated wastes into the ocean? Do we want to be known as the place where the sewer meets the sea? Or is it possible that $10 extraa month is a small price to pay for the honor of living in a healthy place free of toxic waste flowing into the beautiful Pacific Ocean?

(In case someone believes this increase won't affect my family, we pay for services on a number of properties in the city and county. So yes, it does affect us. We believe that it is a small price to pay to improve the quality of life for the human and wildlife populations in Del Norte County.)

Karen Plechaty

Crescent City