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

PUD considering water district consolidation

 

August 23, 2018



On Tuesday, the Wahkiakum County PUD Board of Commissioners started a conversation about consolidating water systems and voiced support for the PUD to become the lead agency in the Broadband Action Committee’s bid to bring broadband infrastructure to Wahkiakum County.

“We now manage three different water districts,” Commissioner Robert Jungers said. “I think streamlining the operations, in order to spread the risk and reward of operating the systems, we could pool resources and focus them on the most immediate and pressing needs of a given portion of the water system and in the long run be serving the purpose and intent of a public utility better.”

Commissioner Dennis Reid suggested that one of the benefits of consolidation might be an opportunity to hook up some potential customers that they had not been able to reach due to finances.

General Manager Dave Tramblie said he would discuss the matter with Auditor Erin Wilson, and Commissioner Gene Healy asked that the topic remain on the agenda for continued conversation.

“We will continue to talk about it,” Healy said. “What do we hope to gain? How does it work?”

Healy updated the commission on Broadband Action Committee news and asked his colleagues if they would support the PUD becoming the lead agency in the project.

“Things are sort of moving ahead to do a study,” Healy said. “We need to get a lead agency appointed so the state application can be properly administered in order to get some financial help.”

Reid and Jungers gave the affirmative.

According to Tramblie, the PUD has received a franchise agreement from the county for Skamokawa’s Westside Water System, which finalized the transfer of ownership. The Department of Health requested a sanitary survey inspection for the system, and that has been tentatively scheduled for October 11.

Tramblie also said that a project to replace pipe on the Covered Bridge had been completed.

“It was a good little project,” Tramblie said. “There were so many connectors on that old pipe. Almost any time you went down there, you could see it dripping. It went well. It’s another one of those projects where you get the material and you’re just trying to find time to get it done with everything else going on.”

This led to a question from Jungers about a need for personnel in the water department.

“If we’re going to add bodies, I would look at the electric department,” Tramblie said. “Since you mentioned that, we’ve kind of been working one guy short for a couple years. With the economy being the way it is, I think we’re feeling more stretched.”

Finally, Tramblie said that tree trimming had stalled while the chipper was being repaired and expressed gratitude to an observant customer in the Westend who alerted the PUD to a leak.

In other business, the commissioners passed a resolution to support Energy Northwest’s Horn Rapids Solar, Storage, and Training Project in Richland, WA.

The next PUD meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, September 4, at 8:30 a.m. in the PUD meeting room.

 

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