Replace Drakesbad Leach Field
The Drakesbad Guest Ranch is part of the Drakesbad Guest Ranch Historic District, and the facilities include a lodge, dining hall, cabins, duplex units, bath house, for the thermal pool, employee housing, laundry facilities, and public restrooms. They are operated by a concession on a seasonal basis, closing for the winter.
At Drakesbad, the wastewater system consists of a gravity sewer collection to a septic tank and effluent pump station that delivers wastewater up to a disposal field. The current septic system leach field was replaced in 2009 and the pump distribution system was replaced in 2004. However, during the summer of 2017, wastewater was seen surfacing on the ground, indicating a failure of the leach field. Without a functioning wastewater system, the area would be unsuitable for visitor use and the existing facilities would need to be closed.
The park is committed to preserving facilities that are part of the Drakesbad Guest Ranch Historic District and the Warner Valley Developed Area Historic District, as it has stated in the Warner Valley Comprehensive Site Plan Final Environmental Impact Statement. This preservation and the continuation of a unique park experience necessitates replacing the existing wastewater system.
To address these and other issues, the park analyzed two alternatives in an environmental assessment. A no-action alternative would continue existing management of the Drakesbad wastewater system. The action alternative proposes to construct a new wastewater disposal field at Drakesbad. Public comments received during the public scoping period will help the park identify issues, concerns, and other potential alternatives for the project.
Based on the analysis presented in the EA, the NPS selected Alternative 2, the NPS proposed action/ preferred alternative, as it best meets the project's purpose and need. The selected alternative consists of all actions described as the proposed action/preferred alternative in the EA.
Under the selected alternative, the park will construct a new wastewater disposal system to service the Drakesbad facilities in the Warner Valley. The selected alternative will allow continued use and provide a similar visitor experience of the Drakesbad Historic District for the foreseeable future. The selected alternative best protects the area's natural resources, cultural resources, and human health and safety in the project area.
Project construction began in fall 2019.
Environmental Compliance Specialist