Port Angeles seeks state loan on sewer outfall project

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — City public works staff hope to get a $12 million state loan for the second phase of a multimillion-dollar effort to reduce the amount of sewage and stormwater that flows into Port Angeles Harbor during heavy rains.

City Engineer Mike Puntenney expects to hear this summer whether the city’s application to the state revolving loan program, administrated by the state Department of Ecology, is accepted.

The city’s combined sewer overflow, or CSO, reduction projects will cost about $18.5 million overall, Puntenney estimated, factoring in design, construction and construction management expenses.

Ecology officials have told him the city’s loan application is a high priority, he said.

Ecology spokeswoman Sandy Howard said a final decision is expected July 1.

“It’s looking very good [for Port Angeles’ application],” Howard said.

The city would repay the loan at roughly 2.7 percent interest over 20 years, Puntenney said.

If the loan is approved, the city expects to go out for bid on the project in August.

If it is not, Puntenney said, the city will continue to apply for low-interest state loans, adding that Ecology — which is requiring the projects, threatening fines — understands that completion is contingent upon the city getting such a loan.

CSO utility charge

Funding also will come from money accumulated through a CSO charge on city resident utility bills. The amount for an average residential customer is $20.10 monthly.

The overall goal of the city’s project is to increase sewer and stormwater capacity between downtown and the city’s plant, and reduce the amount of untreated sewage and stormwater flowing into Port Angeles Harbor during heavy rains.

The last time that happened was in early March, when some 6 million gallons of combined rain water and raw sewage flowed into Port Angeles Harbor because rain overwhelmed the sewer system.

Second phase

The second phase will include an upgraded pump station to be built near the beginning of Marine Drive and pipes to connect the station with the pipes added earlier underneath Oak Street as part of the $16.7 million first phase of the project, Puntenney said.

On Tuesday, the city’s Utility Advisory Committee recommended full City Council approval of a $1.56 million contract with Bellevue-based Vanir Construction Management to manage the construction contractor that will be selected for phase two.

The city contracted with Vanir to manage construction of phase one.

Phase one work included retrofitting a 5 million-gallon storage tank the city bought on the former Rayonier mill property to hold untreated stormwater and sewage during heavy rains until it can be treated in the city’s wastewater-treatment plant near the former mill site.

Council members are expected to vote on the construction management contract at a meeting that will begin at 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 321 E. Fifth St.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: April 10. 2014 5:02PM
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