Council discusses gateway arch, okays water connection


September 15, 2022

By Jamie Nelson

At its September 6 meeting, Cathlamet’s town council dealt with a water line issue related to the Sunnyfield subdivision on Greenwood Road and discussed ideas for a gateway arch to welcome visitors to Cathlamet.

Richard Erickson attended the meeting as a representative of the Wahkiakum Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber hopes to install a “Welcome to Cathlamet” gateway arch at the intersection of SR 4 and Main Street, he reported. Erickson and Mayor David Olson plan to meet with representatives from the Washington State Department of Transportation soon, before the Chamber embarks on any design work. Erickson committed to report back to the council when he had further news.

In other business, town Public Works Superintendent David McNally briefed the council on a potential water system issue facing Sunnyfield Heights, the 33-lot residential subdivision planned on Greenwood Road, and asked for the council’s support in paying for the fix.

Town consulting engineer Mike Johnson of Gray & Osborne identified via hydraulic flow testing that residents in the upper portion of the new subdivision will have low water pressure, topping out at levels that, while still within required thresholds, have led to customer complaints in other parts of the town’s water system.

Johnson and McNally identified that the potential pressure issue could be solved by connecting to the water line on the other side (east) of Greenwood Road. The planned connection to the nearer line (west side of road), which is fed via the Greenwood Reservoir, cannot be raised to a higher-pressure rate without generating the need for a pressure reduction station to be installed further down the line at a cost of $100-$200,000.

However, the east side line is fed by the town’s Kent’s Bridge Reservoir and runs at a higher pressure along that part of Greenwood Road. Because Sunnyfield’s developers did not budget for cost of the road crossing and are within their rights to proceed with connection to the lower pressure line, they requested that the town assist with funding of the crossing. The cost of trenching and installation of pipe under Greenwood Road could cost up to $10,000, said McNally, but would avert further headaches and greater expense in the future.

“If we’re in charge of a water system then we need to provide adequate water pressure – it’s a no-brainer to me,” said council member Laurel Waller. Council member Jeanne Hendrickson agreed, adding that the town would be remiss to provide inadequate service for the 30+ new homes.

Council member Robert Stowe dissented, noting that the developers had previously requested and received a reduction in the hookup fee charged for new water and sewer connections.

The motion for the town to fund the crossing carried 3-1, with Stowe casting the nay vote.


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