PUD crews busy with varied projects

 

Rick Nelson

An osprey constructs a nest on a pole which Wahkiakum PUD erected along Birnie Slough to keep a nesting pair from using a nearby pole with electrical lines.

The Wahkiakum County PUD Board of Commissioners discussed possible funding from the Department of Ecology for drought assistance and listened to reports in a quick meeting on Tuesday morning.

General Manager Dave Tramblie reported that the PUD had hired a contractor to assist with flagging while they completed a project on east SR 4, noting that he had requested a pilot car for added safety.

The PUD is waiting for bids to come in for the Grays River substation. The bids are due on Friday and the contract will be awarded on June 18.

"Additional work to the ground grid has been included due to changes in guidelineS since the substation was built," Tramblie said, adding that the extra work was unanticipated and that he was uncertain how it might affect the bids.

A pre-contract meeting for the Skamokawa water project is scheduled for June 19, Tramblie said.

"I've received a number of surveys back," he said, "and based on the verbal information I've had from the state, I think we're going to have a project."

"It seems to me that if we weren't able to make it work and had to send the money back it would make it a lot more difficult to get money in the future," Commissioner Dennis Reid said. "It's good that it's all coming together."

Commissioner Gene Healy suggested that they talk to the Skamokawa residents about potential problems resulting from drought conditions.

The broadband survey ends on June 14 and representatives from Noanet will report the results at the next Broadband Committee meeting at the end of June.

The last automatic meter reading meters have been orderd, and Tramblie believes that the project to replace all the water and electric meters in the county with AMR meters will be completed by the end of the year.

Daily trips to Puget Island to clear a pole became necessary after an osprey decided to try to build a nest. The PUD erected a taller pole nearby, and it didn't take long for the osprey to make its home there.

"Fortunately, this occurred when we had our dry weather, so it was not shorting out," Tramblie said.

"Eventually it probably would have caused an outage," Reid said.

"It's a kinder gesture than rousting them out," Healy added.

Auditor Erin Wilson reported that all their conservation funds had been used and that there would not be any more available until October.

Tramblie said that earlier this year he had been asked by the Department of Ecology to send a letter of support for legislative action regarding the department's request to fund drought assistance prior to any actual events.

He recently found out that the legislation had passed. After some discourse, he learned that Ecology planned to publish an announcement detailing the availability of funds for drought assistance on or around June 5.

"Funds will be available for drought response activities that provide water to drought affected areas this year," Tramblie said. "The projects that will require significant studies and engineering that will result in projects next year are not likely to be considered eligible right now."


After speaking with an engineer, Tramblie wasn't optimistic that they could get something done in the next six months, but suggested it might be a resource in the future.

According to his information, the funds would be limited to $350,000 per jurisdiction, with a 50 percent match required for non-low-income applicants.

Tramblie suggested that the potential funding could be used to locate a back up source of water for the community, or to put in a reservoir.

 

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