Port Angeles OKs more money for sewer project
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Chad Olson, an employee of IMCO General Construction Co., fuses together lengths of sewer pipe being installed along the Waterfront Trail in Port Angeles on Wednesday. -- Photo by Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — The city of Port Angeles will spend nearly $200,000 for the ability to clean and inspect a 36-inch pipe being installed as part of larger sewer upgrades after a City Council vote Tuesday night.

After discussing concerns over the cost of the $199,700 change order for the city’s combined sewer overflow, or CSO, sewer-line upgrades project, Port Angeles City Council voted 5-2 to approve the additional money, with council members Sissi Bruch and Max Mania opposed.

The additional funds, which bring the new contract amount for phase one of the project to $16.7 million, will pay for a pipeline inspection gauge, abbreviated “pig,” and a launch station for the gauge to be built near Francis Street Park, city project manager James Burke told the council.

The project will increase the city’s capacity to cut discharges of untreated stormwater and wastewater into Port Angeles Harbor.

Once the pipe is installed and operational between downtown Port Angeles and the city’s wastewater treatment plant about a mile and a half to the east, Burke said the pig will be used to clean the pipe periodically of any solid material that might accumulate in it.

City Public Works Director Glenn Cutler said the money for the pig and launching station will come out of a $813,917 contingency fund approved with the larger CSO phase one contract.

The city earlier has used $198,846 of the contingency fund on two change orders: $45,000 for removing construction debris from the former Rayonier mill site and $153,846 for realignment of one of the new pipes due to an archaeological discovery.

City Engineering Manager Kathryn Neal said city staff feel the pig, a dumbell-shaped device built to fit multiple pipe diameters, is necessary to clean a roughly mile-long stretch of pipe that dips down in elevation between Francis Street Park and the treatment plant.

The dip increases the chances of solid material accumulating and keeping stormwater and wastewater from flowing through it at full capacity, Neal said.

The mile-long stretch running underground will not have any access ports between downtown and the wastewater treatment plant, Neal explained, meaning it would need to be cleaned either by the device or through the force of water flowing through it.

“It’s a more proactive system, as opposed to just waiting [for it] to get flushed out on its own schedule,” Neal said.

Mania said he was concerned about who would pay for running the pig through the pipe once the project is completed, to which Burke responded the city would most likely use an outside contractor.

Cutler said outside contractors would most likely be used for the first one or two cleanings, though city staff could observe and later do it for themselves.

Bruch was concerned that the pig could not navigate turns in the pipe.

“Due to a philosophical difference on the design, I will have to vote no,” Bruch said.

Councilman Dan Di Guilio asked why the more expensive pig method is now being called for when the original CSO phase one designs from consultant Brown and Caldwell called for the pipe to be cleaned via the force of water alone.

Neal said Brown and Caldwell stood by their designs and were confident high flows would effectively clean the pipe, but city staff felt it was more prudent to have the ability to clean the pipe whenever they wanted.

“We’re just more comfortable being able to clean the pipe when it needs to be cleaned,” Neal said

When council members asked about the timing of the change order, Neal said city staff were working on designs for the pig method with Mill Creek Management Technologies Inc. while phase one of the project was being awarded to Ferndale-based IMCO General Construction, which is installing the new pipes for phase one.

So even though the pig and accompanying launching station were planned, Neal said they had to be submitted as a change order because design work was not finished before construction began.

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

Last modified: January 16. 2013 6:02PM
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