PUD Board considers Deep River water lines
Water main upgrade coming for East Sunny Sands
May 6, 2021
On Tuesday, the Wahkiakum County PUD Board of Commissioners listened to a quick report about activities at the PUD, discussed the general manager search process, whether or not to record meetings for public access, and continued the conversation about bringing water to Deep River residents.
“With our reserves at the level they are, I don’t see any reason why we can’t start doing some work at getting water to the Deep River people,” Commissioner Dennis Reid said.
When asked for specifics, Reid said he would like to see the PUD take the water main from where it stops on Salmon Creek Road to Salme Road this year.
General Manager Dave Tramblie estimated that it would take four or five weeks of in house work and material costs approximating 50-70,000 dollars just to get the water main from where it ends on Salmon Creek Road to the highway.
When they reached the highway, there would be a need for permits from the state, and with the additional distance, that section of the project could reach a total of about $200,000.
He added that it would take away from the PUD’s time to tackle normal maintenance.
“It’s a big bite. In the past we discussed not using our rate payer’s reserves necessarily for this particular project. We’ve always discussed the fact that the people receiving the benefit should have some skin in the game,” Tramblie said.
“I feel with over $2 million in reserves we can get started on this project and still do our normal maintenance,” Reid said. "I’m sure that many years ago when we were electrifying, there were the same kind of conversations about taking the lines out to the ends of the valleys.
"I’m glad that somebody stepped up to the plate and did it so I grew up having electricity … I think it’s the same kind of situation, and with the size of our budget, which is above what is considered normal for reserves, I think it’s time to start doing something for these people. We are a public utility.”
Tramblie said that an estimate from Gray and Osborne said it would cost about $2.5 million to hire a contractor to complete the project, noting that they could do it in house less expensively.
Reid reiterated that he hadn’t asked them to complete the whole project, he just thought they should get started on it.
“The longer we wait, it’s just going to be that much more expensive,” Reid said. “It’s still going to need to get done someday.”
Commissioner Gene Healy asked to see an undated timeline that included the number of people who would be served, and costs in general terms for each step.
After Healy suggested that the PUD talk to potential customers to gauge interest, Tramblie said he would consider contacting the residents and do some research in the next couple weeks in order to provide more details to the commissioners.
During the manager’s report, Tramblie said that pole testing contractors were here and would be testing roughly 1,700 poles to the east side of KM. Underground cable had been replaced on Barr Road, and crews were going to be on Elochoman Valley Road to do a similar project.
“We just continue to upgrade the sections of cable that are out there,” Tramblie said.
He added that a water main replacement on Pleasant Point Road had been completed and they would soon be starting a water main upgrade on Sunny Sands Road in preparation for the Army Corps of Engineer project.
There was a brief discussion about who should be involved in the interviews with applicants for the general manager position, and commissioners decided to wait to make a decision regarding recording meetings for public access.
The meeting was closed for an executive session to begin reviewing applications for the position of general manager.