Port Angeles gets $1.9 million state loan for stormwater project

PORT ANGELES – The city has received a $1.9 million, low-interest state loan to help fix one of its sites where sewers overflow during heavy rainstorms.

The money will fund designing and building 4,500 feet of 30-inch gravity sewer main from the north end of Francis Street to the city’s wastewater treatment plant at the mouth of Ennis Creek.

The estimated $3.9 million project is expected to reduce so-called combined sewer overflow volumes into Port Angeles Harbor by more than 50 percent.

No bid date has been set.

A combined sewer overflow occurs when too much stormwater enters Port Angeles’ sewer system and overflows the sewer system’s containment barriers.

The result is untreated sewage into Port Angeles Harbor and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

In addition to the north end of Francis Street, the city’s other combined sewer overflow locations are the north ends of Oak, Laurel and Lincoln streets.

The discharges are legal under the city’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System.

But state Ecology officials say that Port Angeles is one of the state’s 11 worst places for frequency of combined sewer overflows.

The 11 cities range in size from Seattle to Anacortes.

State law requires cities with combined sewer overflow problems to adopt a written plan for reducing them.

In addition to the control plan, the city prepares an annual combined sewer overflow report.

The city’s plan to eliminate these overflows includes projects costing from $32 million to $42 million, depending on whether the city can buy a 5.3 million gallon storage tank at the site of the former Rayonier mill to store excess stormwater.

The first project on the list was eliminating a stormwater outfall and installing separate and larger sewer and stormwater pipes at Crown Park in 2005.

Another project was installing a stormwater pipe along Lincoln Street from Fourth to Seventh streets, which was completed last fall.

Other projects include building a larger Pump Station 4 across Front Street from its current location near First Street; aerial mapping; catch-basin improvements; and Valley Creek erosion control.

The Public Works Trust Fund is a revolving fund that offers low-interest loans to cities, counties and special districts.

The loans finance public works projects such as bridges, roads, water systems, sewer systems and stormwater systems.

The money comes from the Public Works Assistance Account, which is administered by the Public Works Board.

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