By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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“This is a unique concept in the state of Washington,” Sequim Public Works Director Paul Haines said.
The City Council on Monday night awarded a $273,790 contract with Kamin Excavating LLC of Shelton for the first phase of construction of an infiltration basin facility at the city's Water Reuse Demonstration Site north of Carrie Blake Park.
The council also awarded a $39,580 contract to Skillings Connolly Inc. to manage construction.
Kamin crews will lay pipes beneath the park that will release the reclaimed sewer water, which is rated Class A, into the soil beneath the park.
The project is part of a $1 million water reuse demonstration funded through a grant from the state Department of Ecology.
It must be finished by June 30, or the Ecology funds will be revoked, Haines said.
The infiltration basin will be in the northwest corner of the park. The soil will filter the water from its treated state as it passes through the ground to the aquifer.
“It's Class A water, which means it's a step away from being drinkable,” Mayor Ken Hays said.
The project will increase the city's fish pond in the park by three times and will create 1.4 acres of basins for infiltration.
Haines said the project is designed to show that water can be added to groundwater supplies in various locations.
Ideally, he said, the city will be able to run purple-colored pipes along the city streets' rights of way that would contain water that could be purchased by homeowners for irrigation during dry months or leaked into the ground to recharge the aquifer during rainy months when the water currently drains into the bay.
“We generate reclaimed water all year long,” Haines said.
“Most of the year, it isn't used because we don't need it for irrigation.”
He added that the city hopes water that is returned to the aquifer could be reused by the city under its municipal water right.
The city council also Monday night unanimously approved a policy that allows volunteers to park their recreational vehicles in Carrie Blake Park and watch over it for the city.
Haines said the city is budgeting $5,000 to build two lots for RVs for volunteer hosts to keep full-time observation of activity in the park, since there is no neighborhood around the park.
About 15 years ago, the city allowed volunteer hosts to stay in the park, Haines said.
He said the volunteers will be there primarily to help hold down vandalism in the park after dark.
“So, will these docents be packing heat?” Mayor Ken Hays asked with a grin.
No, Haines answered.
The volunteers, who would wear official vests, would not be there to enforce rules; rather, they would call police to report criminal activities.
The council also Monday decided to allow members to attend council meetings via remote methods, either over the phone or through computers.
Councilman Erik Erichsen balked at the proposal, saying members attending remotely should not be allowed to vote because they “would not be able to be as engaged with everyone else.”
Councilwoman Candace Pratt noted that the policy allows the council to decide if the reason for remote attendance is “legitimate,” adding that it is to be used in exceptional circumstances.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.