PUD commission talks water, planning


It seemed to be water, water plans everywhere at the Wahkiakum PUD Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday.

But first, General Manager Dan Kay gave an update on long range planning, sharing some of the topics staff had generated for future conversations at the PUD. Topics included things like customer satisfaction, communication, succession planning, safety and training, capital planning, low income assistance, governmental and environmental compliance, transportation, facilities, and operations.

“It’s kind of picturing where is the PUD now, a year from now, five years from now and even 20 years from now,” General Manager Dan Kay asked.

Commissioner Bob Jungers asked the staff to consider investigating alternative resource supplies.

“Are we going to be a total requirements customer for the foreseeable future?” Jungers asked. “I would like to have us approach that question from a devil’s advocate, in the event that things might transpire that we don’t want to be a total requirements customer anymore.”

“In addition, what do we need on the water side?” Kay asked.

“That’s probably a bigger concern, really,” Jungers said.

Kay said he had asked an engineer from Gray and Osborne to come to the first meeting in May to talk about updating the PUD’s water plan and projects related to that, including water rights.

Kay said he had also reached out to Gray and Osborne regarding the Western Wahkiakum Water System, specifically in the Deep River area to “formalize an assessment, a feasibility study, to see how big the situation is.”

“Their scope of work is to identify expansion alternatives, update cost estimates, assess the number of potential new customers, develop long term operating, maintenance, and replacement costs…”

The cost will be $9,600, he said, adding that the PUD would be looking for a grant funding, but wondered if commissioners would be willing to fund this in house.

“Yes,” Reid said. “We need to be ready in case the money becomes available, through all this stuff that is coming out of D.C. that it would be a shame if they had money for us, that we weren’t able to apply because we weren’t ready.”

The commissioners gave staff the go ahead to look for grant funding, and will address the need to find funding in house at the next meeting, if need be.

Kay also briefed the commissioners on the plan for the Puget Island Water System, which needs to be updated for the Washington Department of Health in 2022.

The general manager also said that pole testers have been working on the Westend and that the project was going smoothly.

“I’m really happy with the way they are identifying themselves,” Commissioner Dennis Reid said.

Kay said there was a rare water outage, but the crew got it fixed quickly. There was also a bird related power outage at the marina and the “bizarre weather” on Monday caused a few minor outages.

“I’m proud of this organization and what they’ve done over the years, the investment they’ve made in the system, the tree trimming, and the continued investment,” Kay said.

Steve Carson of Skamokawa Internet gave an update on the public wifi project in downtown Cathlamet.

“The PUD assisted with the wifi project…it was super helpful having some good equipment to get up on a roof that was otherwise kind of sketchy,” Carson said. “The public broadband is now available, basically from the hotel all the way up to the library…on River Street and Broadway, as long as you stay kind of close to the Chamber end of the street it’s still good.

“Our next phase will be to get the museum lit up and see what we need to do to have good coverage in front of the PUD and down in your [meeting] room.”


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