Port Angeles City Council approves funds for landfill bluff design

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — The city will pay a consultant up to $145,180 to design a way to remove more waste from the city’s buried landfill using state Department of Ecology funds.

The work is part of an effort to shore up a failing bluff buttressing the landfill.

The amount paid to Seattle-based Herrera Environmental Consultants could fund design for work that may not be done, however, if the state Legislature does not approve Ecology’s 2014 supplemental budget request for $2.5 million, which Port Angeles would not have to match or pay back.

“There is no guarantee that this additional financial assistance will come,” City Engineer Mike Puntenney said, adding that Ecology officials do consider the city’s project a high priority.

‘Expensive’

“[The request was added] after our pleas that this project is very expensive to the taxpayers of Port Angeles,” Puntenney said.

The $145,180 is part of a total $282,555 amendment to the city’s contract with Herrera approved by a unanimous City Council vote Tuesday night.

The amendment increases the Herrera design contract amount to $2.8 million.

If the Legislature doesn’t approve the Ecology funding, Puntenney said, the design work still will be beneficial because it will provide more information on how more waste can be removed in the future.

Ecology’s $2.5 million would allow removal of about 100,000 more cubic feet of waste than originally planned from the city’s defunct and buried landfill at the end of 18th Street, Puntenney said.

“It’s a very cost-efficient way to get additional garbage relocated,” Puntenney said.

Expect word in spring

Ecology and the city likely won’t know whether the Legislature has approved the request at least until March, Puntenney added.

Under the city’s current plan, about 250,000 cubic yards will be removed from a section of landfill near a failing bluff over the Strait of Juan de Fuca and moved within the landfill farther from the bluff, city officials have said.

The city hopes to start moving the garbage and buttressing a seawall supporting one portion of the bluff next summer as part of the total $19.6 million effort.

The city already has secured about $3.9 million in financial assistance from Ecology. The expected cost to the city is about $15.7 million.

No more than 11 feet of dirt in some places separate decades of buried garbage from the edge of the bluff, which is eroding at a rate of between 3 feet and 5 feet per year — threatening to release garbage into the Strait.

City Engineering Manager Kathryn Neal told council members the remaining $137,375 going to Herrera is to prepare additional permitting to deal with stormwater runoff during construction and for planned habitat restoration for the mouth of nearby Dry Creek.

It also would allow the design of a road to access the seawall without touching the beach and to address water found to be pooling at the bottom of the main landfill portion, Neal explained.

Stormwater pipe

In other council action, council members unanimously approved a $67,234 amendment to the professional services contract with environmental engineering firm Brown and Caldwell to add a new stormwater pipe under a stretch of First Street.

The pipe will separate stormwater from a combined sewer and stormwater line already running beneath the street, Puntenney explained.

The work will be part of the second phase of the city’s combined sewer overflow, or CSO, project, which will require First Street to be dug up to install pipes to help increase stormwater capacity downtown, Puntenney said.

“It’s just more cost-efficient,” he said.

“We’ll only be paying for trenching and resurfacing of the road the one time.”

The city will wait to install the separate stormwater line, likely a $500,000 project, until low-interest state loans can be obtained for the larger CSO phase-two work, Puntenney added.

Council members also unanimously agreed Tuesday to use up to $119,844 in Ecology stormwater capacity grant funds for Herrera to begin the designs of three city stormwater projects.

The projects are:

■ Replacing certain city residential alleys with permeable pavement to reduce stormwater runoff.

■ Installing water filtration systems on stormwater outfalls releasing water into Peabody Creek.

■ Building a facility at the city’s transfer station to separate water from sediment and other debris collected by the city’s vacuum truck, which cleans stormwater drains. The water would then be piped to the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

Puntenney said the costs of each project would be determined as part of Herrera’s design work.

The designs would be used to seek additional Ecology grants to fund the projects, he added.

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

Last modified: November 20. 2013 5:57PM
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