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

PUD commission considers water issues, discounts plan


On Tuesday, Wahkiakum County PUD's Board of Commissioners listened to reports and discussed several matters including discounts for low income seniors and disabled and a water rights permit application.

An inspection of the water main on the Puget Island bridge has been completed, and Manager Dave Tramblie said that the engineering firm is recommending that the PUD blast and re-coat the ductal iron pipe sometime in the next 5-10 years.

Commissioner Dennis Reid wondered if the work could be done while the state worked on the bridge. Tramblie said he had not been able to talk to the contractor at the PI bridge meeting and he suspected it was unlikely as they had not wanted to discuss it last summer.

Tramblie said that an irregular sequence in the system during a recent windstorm alerted the PUD to a problem. Their engineers, Brown & Kysar, were troubleshooting the issue.

Electric crews are doing some upgrades in West Cape Horn this week.

Tramblie reported that he was still waiting for more information from Westside Water in Skamokawa. The PUD has been asked to consider taking over the system.

“Will this give us the liability of a third water plan?” Commissioner Bob Jungers asked. “We might want to rethink merging all the water systems under one policy group, one financial umbrella, and hopefully one comprehensive plan.”

“I don’t disagree,” Tramblie said. He also noted that it was likely that Westside Water would be added to the Western Wahkiakum Water System if adopted.

Auditor Erin Wilson said that the PUD was setting up an alternative payment method on their website called Quickpay. It will allow customers to pay their bill without logging in.

Wilson presented the commissioners with a new proposed policy to provide discounts to senior and disabled low income customers. The new proposal would apply discounts to energy consumption, but not to the monthly base fee.

A household with an income between $0-17,506, according to the new guidelines, would get a 25 percent discount; between $17,507-21,750 would receive a 20 percent discount; and between $21,751-26,160 would get a 15 percent discount.

A resolution will be drafted and the new policy is expected to be implemented for April billing, and revisited in the fall.

“I think this is a good step in helping these people,” Reid said.

Tramblie reported that he had spoken to Gray & Osborne about a water rights permit application. They informed him that the process, which could cost the PUD over six figures, would require a written hydrological study and proof of application in the form of a producing well.

This led to a lengthy discussion of possible alternatives, water sources, concerns about working with other water systems and more. Nothing was determined.

“The water thing is not going to go away,” Healy said later. “Someday somebody is going to have to do something, most likely.”

“You have to assume that the demand on the system will eventually cause us to have to increase our capacity to serve,” Tramblie said.


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