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

PUD cutting PI water Feb. 11 for repair


February 6, 2020

Wahkiakum County PUD Board of Commissioners met on Tuesday morning to listen to reports, and to discuss the Western Wahkiakum Water System and the General Manager’s compensation.

The PUD has had to make some adjustments due to the slide on KM. One employee, who lives on the Westend, has been given a PUD truck for the duration, and is spending his days working over there. Logging companies have made it possible for the PUD to travel back and forth, and while General Manager Tramblie was grateful for passage, he admitted the slide has been an inconvenience.

Another slide on Shannon Road damaged approximately 300 feet of cable, and the crew is replacing it with overhead lines.

A water outage is scheduled for Puget Island on February 11 in order for the crew to make repairs to new valves installed in early December near the master meter.

"One of them leaked from the day we installed it,” Tramblie said.

Residents have been notified, and the outage is expected to last less than an hour.

Tramblie suggested a change to the PUD’s street light policy. They currently charge time and materials for new installs, and with the new LED fixtures the price has risen to as much as $350. Tramblie would like to change it to a flat rate of $250, where no additional infrastructure is required.

“The LEDs last longer, and maintenance is less,” Tramblie reasoned.

Commissioners were amenable and a resolution will be drawn up.

Tramblie said he had lost confidence in two reclosers at Wahkiakum substation, and would like to replace them, starting this year with the one that serves Puget Island, and saving the second for a later date.

He expects it will cost about $20,000.

Auditor Erin Wilson went over the cash flows for each system in 2019. At the end of the year, the reserve for the Electric System was $1,116,572, the reserve for the Puget Island Water System was $227,083, and the reserve for the Western Wahkiakum Water System was $38,475.

Commissioner Dennis Reid suggested that they write off a $30,000 loan from the Electric System to the Western Wahkiakum Water System.

“This system needs some help,” he said.

That matter was tabled for the next meeting, but the system came up during a later discussion.

Tramblie suggested that they put in more bypass valves for leak detection in the Western Wahkiakum Water System and use the year 2020 to rebuild reserves for the system.

They experienced a 26 percent water loss in the system in 2019. Tramblie estimated that there are about 42 miles of pipe in the system, with approximately 320 customers.

“The bypass valves help us isolate sections for leak detection,” Tramblie said, “that might help us focus whatever resources we decide to put down there in the correct locations.”

During commissioner reports, Commissioner Gene Healy said that he and Tramblie had met with a representative from Jaime Herrera Beutler’s office to talk about USDA loan issues for the broadband project.

“It’s a complicated issue,” Healy said. “We’re not giving up. There is a difference in opinion on what our eligibility is with USDA for a loan. We got some news that we were ineligible. Since our last meeting, we thought we had some light at the end of the tunnel, now it is darkened again. It just depends how long it takes for the right people to fall in line. They will.”

Finally, commissioners voted unanimously to grant Tramblie’s request for a 5% raise in base pay due to increased duties, 3% of which will be a cost of living allowance.


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