PUD covers lots of ground


August 18, 2022

The Wahkiakum County PUD Board of Commissioners heard about current projects and other matters, and approved a resolution pertaining to the water rate with the Town of Cathlamet, a bit of housekeeping which is done every year.

PUD Manager Dan Kay said he and Auditor Erin Wilson were continuing their efforts in succession planning, as employees near retirement age, to work on a “seamless transition.” They are also developing possible approaches for handling the cash reserve and considering other financial policies, ideas that they expect to present to commissioners at a later date.

Kay said that the water crew had completed a big project extending a line to a new customer who wanted water in the Westend.

“The customer spent several thousand dollars to get it and that took a while,” Kay said.

The search for a back up source of water continues. Kay said that the water foreman, Jim Jespersen, had taken a water sample from a customer with an 80 foot well on Puget Island and that the PUD should get results back in about a week.

“The customer was supportive,” Kay said.

The PUD is still getting a lot of new customer inquiries, Kay said, but actual construction seems to have slowed a bit.

However, they have all the materials they need to begin work on the Sunnyfield sub-division on Greenwood soon.

“This project will take us a couple of weeks and will need coordination,” Kay said. “It will be exciting when it is done. It is a big project for us.”

“In this day and age, with everything that is going on, for you to have planned ahead well enough that we have stuff on hand to be able to go into a big project like that I think is pretty admirable,” Commissioner Dennis Reid said. “I’m sure there are other utilities that can’t take on a project right now.”

The PUD suffered little damage in the recent Cape Horn fire, Kay said, with only one pole showing signs of a slight charring. It doesn’t need to be replaced at this time. Crews continue to do tree trimming and Kay reached out to a tree trimming contractor who is hoping to get back to work soon.

“We’re trying to be very conscientious of the wildfire issue,” Kay said.

The PUD purchases water from the Town of Cathlamet for the Puget Island Water System, and Wilson said she had met with the Town of Cathlamet to determine the new rate for the coming year.

“I think the numbers were good, and as always Sarah Clark was wonderful to work with,” Wilson said.

The commissioners approved a resolution adopting the revised cost of production, depreciation schedule, lump sum adjustment factor, and water rate under the Town of Cathlamet and Puget Island Water System interlocal water supply contract.

Wilson said that losses were increasing in the Skamokawa Water system but the PUD would install more valves soon, which will be helpful in leak detection.

“We’ll find out what’s going on down there,” Wilson said.


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