Jefferson PUD water sufficient for Port Hadlock sewer project

Agency presented with update on first phase

PORT HADLOCK — The Jefferson County Public Utility District has more than enough water capacity to serve Phase 1 of the Port Hadlock Sewer Project, officials said Tuesday.

The Jefferson County Public Utility District (PUD) commissioners conducted a special meeting Tuesday morning, hosting Jefferson County commissioners and staff, who presented an update on the status of the sewer project being developed for Port Hadlock.

Phase 1 of the sewer project aims to bring the sewer services to the commercial core area of Port Hadlock, which includes lower Hadlock and the Old Alcohol Plant.

The state Legislature awarded the project $20.175 million from federal relief and infrastructure funding provided to the state to allocate in late April.

The estimated cost to bring the sewer to the Phase 1 commercial core area of Port Hadlock is $23.6 million.

The county received $1.422 million from the state last year for the project’s design, leaving about $2 million needed to fully fund the project, said Monte Reinders, county public works director.

The county is continuing to apply for further grants, Reinders said.

The estimated cost of $23.6 million is expected to cover the cost of installing the modular treatment plant that utilizes membrane bioreactor technology to treat wastewater to Class A reclaimed water standards — required by the state Department of Ecology, Reinders said.

The Phase 1 area is comprised of about 356 Equivalent Residential Units (ERU), with an ERU meaning a single-family residence using about 4,000 gallons a month, said Bob Wheeler, county project manager.

The estimated operating and maintenance costs of the sewer once installed is $91 per ERU per month, and residents who are not connected to the sewer won’t pay for those fees, Wheeler said.

The addition of the sewer’s water usage is estimated to raise the 356 ERU by about 150, which the PUD has more than enough water capacity to meet, PUD staff said.

The operating and maintenance costs for the facility covers labor, power, chemicals, administrative costs, solids handling/disposal and part replacements, Wheeler said.

The final design of the sewer must be approved by the state Department of Ecology; a decision is expected by September 2022, with permitting completed in July of the same year, and construction is hoped to begin that December, Wheeler said.

Completion of the sewer is estimated to be between August and December 2024.

A sewer ordinance, expected to be drafted by January 2023, will control who and when residents within the Phase 1 area can connect, Wheeler said.

By September of next year, officials hope to have better details for the exact costs for hook-ups and operations, Wheeler said.

Currently, the county does not have the funding or staffing available to expand planning for the sewer outside of the Phase 1 area, but once that portion of the project is complete, officials plan to work with interested residents about potential expansion, Reinders said.

Planning for the Port Hadlock Urban Growth Area (UGA) — including its sewer — has been under way since 1998, with public involvement at each phase, county officials said.

The UGA was formally designated in 2002 to open the area to create more jobs, additional services and affordable housing, Reinders said.

In 2017, 70 percent of property owners in the commercial core approached the county with renewed interest in seeing the sewer project completed.

In February a group named the “Concerned Residents of Port Hadlock” formed in opposition of the sewer, asking for clarification from the county on the process and costs.

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Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected]

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