The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

PUD plans policy for opting out of AMR


The Wahkiakum County PUD Board of Commissioners listened to reports on Tuesday and discussed some customer service matters.

General Manager Dave Tramblie reported that Puget Island’s water loss for the last year was at 9.9 percent.

“If you look at our losses for Puget Island we’re at about 130,000 cubic feet for the year, which works out to be about five gallons per minute, which brings me to this pipe that the guys found yesterday with a small crack in it,” he said. “The guys estimate this to be about a half gallon a minute. So it doesn’t take many of those to add up to the losses that we see here.”

According to Tramblie, a pressure device did not close completely when a hydrant was shut off after a fire on Puget Island on Friday and caused high pressure on the Island. The PUD fixed the problem on Saturday after they were alerted.

Tramblie shared that staff had decided to create a document for customers to sign when they wanted to opt out of Automatic Meter Reading service after a customer refused installation of an AMR meter at her home recently. The PUD has a policy to opt out and it will cost the customer a one time charge of $80 plus $15 per month to do so.

Commissioner Gene Healy suggested that the PUD find a short informative video to educate customers about any concerns they have about AMR.

Tramblie reported that he had met with a Gray and Osborne engineering consultant and the Washington State Department of Health to

discuss the Western Wahkiakum Water System comprehensive plan. According to Tramblie, the DOH signaled that they would not require an extensive hydrological study since the system’s configuration had not changed since the last time the PUD had completed the plan.

He expects that will save the PUD a lot of money.

“One of the main reasons for having the comprehensive plan is that it gives us some freedom to do things like extend the water main when necessary to pick up new customers,” Tramblie said, “and gives it a blanket approval to do those things.”

“We could opt not to have a water plan,” he added, “but any time we might want to extend the water main, a professional engineer would have to approve it and submit it to the state.”

That could be more costly and time consuming, Tramblie said.

“I really think this comprehensive plan is the way to go,” he said.

Finally, Tramblie told the commissioners that he was considering setting up an electronic phone call system to address customers who had not responded to late notices because he believes that the PUD’s current policy to have staff call the customers is inefficient.

The matter was discussed but no decision was made.

Auditor Erin Wilson reported that she had been meeting with an intermediary for FEMA to address losses due to storm damages in January and February.

“They’ve been extremely helpful,” Wilson said. “We’ve already got most of our stuff submitted.”

She also noted that the PUD will be making their last payment on a $40,000 loan for the western Wahkiakum water system.

The commissioners approved travel for Jim Jespersen to attend a water loss workshop in Tumwater in June.

The next PUD meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 6, at 8:30 a.m. in the PUD meeting room.


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