Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1979 No. 7 -
Attorney General Slade Gorton


RCW 56.08.020 and RCW 56.16.030 apply to sewer districts and not to irrigation districts; therefore, once a sewer district has been merged into an irrigation district, those statutes no longer apply with regard to the extension of sewer service by the surviving irrigation district.

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                                                                    April 2, 1979

Honorable E. R. Whitmore, Jr.
Prosecuting Attorney
Chelan County
P.O. Box 1622
Wenatchee, WA 98801

                                                                                                                   Cite as:  AGO 1979 No. 7

Dear Sir:

            By recent letter you have requested our opinion on the following question:

            "After a sewer district has been merged with an irrigation district, must the extension of any sewer service and any additions and betterments be in accordance with a general comprehensive plan subject to the approval of the legislative authority of the county?"

            We answer this question in the negative for the reasons set forth in our analysis.


            As indicated in your letter, RCW 56.08.020 and RCW 56.16.030 pertain to sewer districts and require the commissioners of such districts to adopt a general comprehensive  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] plan which is subject to the approval of the legislative authority of the county in which the particular district is situated.  In addition, those statutes provide that any additions or betterments be accompanied by an amendment or addition to the general comprehensive plan approved in the same manner as the original plan.

            By its enactment of chapter 208, Laws of 1977, 1st Ex. Sess., however, the legislature authorized the merger of sewer districts and irrigation districts; specifically, the merger of a given sewer district into an irrigation district within the boundaries of which the sewer district is located.  See, AGLO 1978 No. 31, copy enclosed.  Because the sewer district is merging into the irrigation district, however, the end result of any such merger is a dissolution of the sewer district, as such.  Accord, RCW 85.08.880 which, notably, is among the statutes expressly referred to in § 3, chapter 208,supra.1/   Therefore, the sole surviving entity is the irrigation district and, in accordance with RCW 85.08.890, its board of directors will succeed to ". . . all the powers possessed at the time of the merger by the board of . . . [directors] of the . . ." former sewer district.

            RCW 56.08.020 and RCW 56.16.030, however, simply do not relate to irrigation districts at all nor even to sewer systems, per se.  Instead, those statutes only apply to certain designated functions or activities ofsewer districts.  For that reason it is our opinion that your question, as above, stated, must be answered in the negative.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            We trust that the foregoing will be of some assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

Attorney General

Deputy Attorney General

                                                         ***   FOOTNOTES   ***

1/This section, now codified as RCW 56.02.100, reads as follows:

            "The procedure and provisions of RCW 85.08.830 through 85.08.890, which are applicable to drainage improvement districts, joint drainage improvement districts, or consolidated drainage improvement districts which desire to merge into an irrigation district, shall also apply to sewer districts organized, or reorganized, under this title which desire to merge into irrigation districts.

            "The authority granted by this section shall be cumulative and in addition to any other power or authority granted by law to any sewer district."