PUD crews busy with variety of projects
June 17, 2021
The Wahkiakum County PUD Board of Commissioners met on Tuesday to hear an update on activities at the PUD and for an executive session to discuss the process and their progress in the hiring of a new general manager.
Commissioner Dennis Reid suggested that while the PUD awaits a decision on the grant for the Deep River water project, that staff might gather information for Oneida Road for the next round of grant applications.
General Manager Dave Tramblie said he would contact the engineers to determine the cost of doing so.
The commissioners adopted a resolution that will terminate a prior resolution that authorized the manager to exercise emergency powers during the pandemic. The new resolution terminates the prior resolution on June 30, unless the governor issues a proclamation rescinding the state of emergency prior to that time.
During his report, Tramblie said the PUD had begun a pipe replacement project on East Birnie Slough Road which would eliminate concrete asbestos pipe from all their water systems.
“I think it’s a great move that we are getting rid of that,” Reid said. “It needs to be gone.”
The PUD is collaborating with Wahkiakum County officials to replace a transformer that serves their offices. Tramblie said there would be an outage there, and he was working with them to schedule a time that will be least disruptive.
Wait times for materials is becoming an issue for the PUD, according to Tramblie. Padmount transformers were once easy to obtain, he said, but the last time he went out for bid, the wait time was 20 weeks.
“That’s becoming kind of substantial with the kind of growth we’re seeing,” Tramblie said, adding that he had put in an order of 10 padmount transformers and 10 overhead transformers, instead of his usual order of four each.
“We’ll keep an eye on what happens in the next 30-60 days,” he added. “I may place another order, it will depend on the level of activity I see.”
Pole testing has been completed on the east side of the county. Over 2,000 poles were tested, and 46 needed to be replaced. So far, the PUD has been able to replace 25 percent of them.
Tramblie proposed that the PUD consider enlisting a college intern in the future, possibly with an interest in engineering or finance.
During public comment, Town Councilman David Olson gave a quick update on the public wifi project in Cathlamet. He said the group hoped to have the system up and going at Wahkiakum County Port 1 by the end of the month, and ready in the downtown area for Bald Eagle Days.
“It’s always subject to whether we can get it done,” Olson said. “It will be a soft launch, no big publicity outpouring until we know it works.”
The commissioners closed the meeting for an executive session to review the qualifications of an applicant for public employment and to discuss potential litigation.
Following the executive session, the commissioners asked the attorney to set up a second interview with an applicant for the general manager position.