Port commission addresses sewer issues
June 17, 2021
The Wahkiakum County Port 1 Commissioners met last Thursday to discuss sewer issues and other maintenance issues on port properties.
The commissioners passed a resolution adopting an interlocal agreement with the Wahkiakum County Noxious Weed Control Board to eliminate noxious weeds from port waterways, as needed. The agreement also allows Weed Control Board personnel to use the port’s skiff in commission of such service.
After perusing bids to replace the canvas on the covered area at the marina, the commissioners agreed to go with a bid from Pacific Auto Trim.
“It looked a little bit more professional, and it’s a better price too,” Commissioner Scott Anderson said.
With action items out of the way, commissioners moved to discussion items, including how to tackle ongoing issues with the sewer at the port.
Maintenance Manager Todd Souvenir said that he had spoken with someone who had a background in wastewater treatment. The person said there was a growing problem with sanitary wipes being flushed down the toilet, because the wipes do not break down and are binding up pumps and more.
Souvenir said he was advised that there was not a big enough pump to handle that kind of material in the port’s current sewer system. A grinder pump would help, the man told Souvenir, but he cautioned that with that type of material going into the system, it would not be foolproof.
Souvenir said he had spoken with the Town of Cathlamet’s Public Works Superintendent David McNally and described some possible courses of action for the commissioners, but nothing was decided.
“Plain and simple, it’s got to be fixed,” said Commissioner Brett Deaton, “whatever it takes.”
He later noted that the only public restrooms in Cathlamet were at the marina.
Town Councilman David Olson, who was in attendance, suggested that Souvenir continue to talk to McNally.
“We want that system well used, and we want it to solve problems not create it,” Olson said.
The commissioners asked Souvenir to continue to research how best to contend with the issue.
Port Manager Jackie Lea told the commissioners that staff had been considering putting in a chlorinated water system at County Line Park, which could cost upwards of $40,000. Currently, the water is not potable.
“That’s a long term recap on investment,” Anderson said, “for what you make out there.”
“If ever,” Deaton interjected.
Lea listed off some of the costs of not having potable water at the park, including portable toilet rentals, water testing, and continued pressure from the Department of Health.
“We’ve got bills going out all the time, and we’re still not in compliance,” she said.
Anderson asked what costs would be involved with a chlorinated water system, and wondered about the net income at the park.
Lea estimated after costs in 2020, they may have made $5,000.
“There could be other money out there to put a chlorinated system in,” Lea said.
The commissioners decided to table the matter while they consider how to move forward.