Utility upgrades to close campground at Heart O’ the Hills next year

Project to replace water pipes could be finished in June

PORT ANGELES — The Heart O’ the Hills campground and trail will be closed for part of next year as the Olympic National Park works to rehabilitate the area’s water and wastewater systems.

Work is set to begin in February, although lingering winter weather may push the start date to March, according to Meagan Huff, public affairs specialist for the park.

“Replacement of water lines will begin in February or March 2023, depending on weather conditions at the time,” Huff said.

At that time, the campground and Heart O’ the Hills hiking trail will be closed with the hope of opening as early as May or June, Huff said.

The $3.1 million project will replace 50-year-old water distribution pipes with plastic piping.

“Replacing water distributions 50-year-old iron pipe with flexible and jointless plastic pipe will eliminate leaks and cut water production in half,” park engineer Kerri Cook said.

Huff said there is little concern for the longevity of the plastic piping as it is made of high-density polyethylene, which is a flexible, corrosion-resistant and cost-effective product designed and constructed to have a service life of 50 years or longer.

“HDPE pipe was selected as the preferred pipe material for this water distribution system because the biggest deficiency we are trying to correct is significant leaks at gasket iron pipe joints,” Huff said.

“HDPE pipe eliminates this type of joint leakage by welding or fusing pipe sections together with heat to create a joint that’s actually stronger (under tension) than the pipe itself.”

Other aspects of the construction work will include rehabbing the water and wastewater treatment and storage infrastructure, jet cleaning and inspection of the sewer, and the replacement of the campground’s septic tank.

A portion of the funding will come from a congressional appropriations bill, the annual Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, as well as recreation fees collected by ONP under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA).

ONP awarded the construction bid to RJS Construction, a woman- and Native American-owned and operated firm from Yakima, and Jamestown Excavation of Sequim will be the subcontractor.

Campers and hikers won’t see much change once construction is complete, Huff said.

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Reporter Ken Park can be reached at kpark@peninsuladailynews.com.

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