Meeting to kick off $41.7 million sewer overflow project

By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Public works andutilities officials will meet in a pre-construction conference Thursday with IMCO General Construction of Ferndale to kick off Phase 1 of the city’s $41.7 million combined sewer overflow project.

The project is the city’s effort to stop the flow of stormwater and raw sewage into Port Angeles Harbor and Peabody Creek.

It’s the largest public works construction project in the city’s history, agency director Glenn Cutler said.

At the meeting, public works staff will review the basics of the contract with IMCO personnel and review roles and responsibilities for the project, Cutler said Friday.

“It’s a big step forward,” Department of Ecology spokesman Larry Altose said Friday.

“We are encouraged the city is able to reach this milestone.”

The City Council on Tuesday voted 5-1 to award a $16.3 million contract to IMCO for the first phase of the two-phase project to staunch stormwater and untreated sewage that backs up in the city’s combined sewer-stormwater collection system and is deposited into the harbor and creek, which flows into the harbor.

Councilwoman Sissi Bruch voted against the contract. Councilman Max Mania was not present.

The project came in about $1 million under the engineer’s estimate, Cutler said.

IMCO’s was the lowest bid among seven submitted. DelHur Industries of Port Angeles was the only North Olympic Peninsula bidder. The company’s $24.6 million bid was the highest bid.

The city annually dumps about 32 million gallons of raw sewage and stormwater into the Harbor, Altose said.

The average number of overflow events is 67, he added.

Construction on Phase 1 will begin this fall and be completed by early 2014, while Phase 2, the final step, will be completed by Dec. 31, 2015.

Under Phase 1, piping will extend from Railroad Avenue and Oak streets through the industrial water line under Railroad Avenue.

It will wend its way along the Waterfront Trail and through the former Rayonier pulp mill site to the city’s wastewater treatment plant. A 100-foot bridge will be built over Ennis Creek to carry the piping.

Francis Street Park will be closed during part of Phase 1.

Parts of the city are not connected to the csewer system, Cutler said.

A Public Works & Utilities CSO fund fed by proceeds from ratepayers is paying for the CSO project, which also is being funded with loans from the state Public Works Trust Fund and the State Revolving Fund.

“A lot of us around City Hall and maybe in the community never thought we’d get to this particular day,” Cutler told council members. “It’s been a very long haul.”

Said Bruch: “I don’t agree that this may be the best way to handle the stormwater stuff, but I appreciate all the work that’s gone into it. I do know that we are going to gain by having a new sewer system that’s going into place.”

Mayor Cherie Kidd said she initially had concerns about the project.

“But I still haven’t had an alternative method presented to me that we can present to the Department of Ecology that will work for us.

“It’s been a long, hard struggle.”

Council members gave City Manager Dan McKeen the authority to approve change orders in an aggregate amount of up to $814,000 without council approval, though the council will be notified of the changes.

Councilman Brad Collins was the city planning director in the early 1990s when, he said, the City Council had difficulty coming to grips with the issue.

“We need to address these issues maybe more proactively in the future,” he said.

Under a 2006 agreed order between Ecology and the city, the city is required to reduce the number overflow discharges into the harbor by Dec. 31, 2015, the target date for completion of the project, Cutler said.

The city has purchased a 5-million-gallon storage tank from Rayonier at former pulp mill site near Francis Street that will store overflow sewage and stormwater before it is treated at the city’s wastewater treatment plant and deposited in Port Angeles Harbor.

Phase 2 of the project will include the construction of a pump station on Marine Drive and installation of piping from the pump station to piping installed during Phase 1 on Railroad Avenue and Oak Street.

Piping also will be laid on Lincoln Street to the new pump station during Phase 2.

Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at

Last modified: August 11. 2012 5:52PM
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