PUD should make existing utilities more bulletproof
May 13, 2021
To The Eagle:
One of our PUD commissioners has started a crusade to bring city water to the folks in Deep River, and wants to dig into the two million dollar reserve fund to get the project going. Manager Dave Tramblie valiantly dug in his heels, gently pointing out that completing the project would be prohibitively expensive. He at least slowed them down to the point of deciding to discuss the matter further, but he’s a short-timer, soon to retire and be replaced by someone unaware of our rich history of water/sewer misadventures. Years ago, under pressure from the benighted Dept of Ecology, we abandoned a viable sewer pond system to cobble together a gravity-defying sewage plant, and also, under the spell of quixotic economic development, built the sewer line to nowhere.
The people of Cathlamet shouldered most of that financial obligation, and their town council recently tossed more money down the hole attempting to redistribute that ever-increasing burden more equitably, while expanding the system to rope in more paying customers. We’ve also had altercations between town and PUD over Puget Island water, water source maintenance, and leakage. All this in the face of technologies, both ancient and new, that deliver water to homes without miles of water mains, and take sewage from homes without miles of sewer pipe and expensive sewage treatment plants. We’re talking here about catchment water systems and incinerating sewage disposal systems – both are rather modest investments to be made by individual homeowners or sponsored by cooperative public utilities.
At a time when the Biden administration, and our own state government have pulled out all stops to make energy both scarce and expensive, the PUD would be better off to apply their reserves toward making our existing utilities more bulletproof. There’s little they can do about government malfeasance, but much to do to protect from fire, flood, and freezing, the scourges that caused many utility failures and human suffering last year.