The water facilities along the Elwha River are shown at left in 2012. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News file)

The water facilities along the Elwha River are shown at left in 2012. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News file)

City Council hires Elwha Water Facilities consultant

$150,000 agreement signed to provide support services through 2020

PORT ANGELES — The city of Port Angeles has hired a consultant to help reconfigure the Elwha Water Facilities for ease of maintenance and future needs.

The City Council voted 6-0 last week to approve a not-to-exceed $150,000 professional services agreement with Jacobs Engineering Group to provide support services through December 2020.

The Elwha Water Facilities were built by the National Park Service for the removal of the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams. They were transferred to the city of Port Angeles amid litigation in August 2018.

Jacobs Engineering will provide a “second set of eyes” to help city staff inspect the infrastructure to ensure that it meets current and future needs, Port Angeles Public Works and Utilities Director Thomas Hunter said.

“I just think this is a very wise move,” City Council member Cherie Kidd said in a council meeting last Tuesday. “This is important for us.”

The Elwha Water Facilities were built to treat sediment-laden water as the dams were removed from 2011 to 2014.

The facilities include a treatment plant, surface water intake, temporary pump diversion facility and other infrastructure that provides industrial water, hatchery water and a back-up supply of potable water for city customers.

Port Angeles gets its municipal water from the Ranney Well, a groundwater collector near the Elwha River. The municipal water treatment plant was transferred to the city in 2011.

Sediment released during dam removal damaged the Elwha Water Facilities, resulting in a tenfold increase in the cost of providing industrial water from what the city was paying prior to dam removal, city officials have said.

The city accepted the transfer of the facilities in August 2018. The settlement ended a two-year impasse, voided a lawsuit that the city had filed against the U.S. Department of Interior and provided $6.65 million for the city to operate the Elwha Water Facilities.

“Just for the public’s understanding, this is a facility that the federal government built basically for us and transferred to us, and we want to make sure that we’re using it in an efficient manner that provides the services that we are going to need,” Council member Mike French said at the meeting.

“It wasn’t necessarily designed with what our city needs in mind originally.”

Under the terms of the professional services agreement, Jacobs Engineering Group will help city staff complete the following tasks:

• Thirty-percent design, project descriptions, justifications and costs for proposed improvements to the Elwha Water Facilities.

• A fully-designed bid package for the relocation of the Ranney Well generator.

• Scope of work for a project to merge supervisory control and data acquisition for the Elwha Water Facilities and the Port Angeles Water Treatment Plant.

• An equipment and facilities decommissioning list.

The consultant also will provide engineering and technical support for unforeseen issues, city officials said.

“The tasks supported by this professional services agreement require personnel with specialized structural, mechanical, electrical, environmental and geotechnical engineering knowledge, as well as several other unique skill sets the city does not currently retain in-house,” Hunter said in a memo to the council.

“For this reason, the city is seeking outside support.”

Funding for the professional services agreement comes from the 2018 settlement agreement, Hunter said.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

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