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First water, now sewer gets council nod

POULSBO — Turning on the faucet and having water come out is something Poulsbo won’t likely have to worry about for quite a while.

Now, it appears the same is true for flushing the toilet.

At its Oct. 20 meeting, the Poulsbo City Council received an unexpected report from city staff — it appears Poulsbo’s sewer capacity is fine for now and will be more easily upgraded than originally thought.

Like water, sewer has been an issue that new Public Works Director Jeff Lincoln has been researching with project engineer Andrzej Kasiniak since he took office in August. Looking at the adopted 1998 and 2002 wastewater comprehensive plans and meeting with Kitsap County, the two have come up with a recommendation for the future direction of Poulsbo’s sewer that seemed to find support among council members Wednesday night.

First and foremost, Kasiniak reported, county improvements, for which Poulsbo was going to need to chip in, appear to be unnecessary at this point. Poulsbo’s regional wastewater system conveys sewage to the Central Kitsap Wastewater Treatment Plant (CKWTP) in Brownsville via a system that comprises a pipeline to Lemolo that flows under Liberty Bay to Pump Station 16 on the Keyport side of Lemolo and Pump Station 24, a node collecting from Poulsbo, Keyport and Bangor. According to estimates, that system has a capacity of 4 million gallons per day (MGD). The CKWTP was designed with a 6 MGD capacity.

With Poulsbo’s current 7,000 population, it is estimated that the total average sewer flows are 2.4 MGD. It is not until 2025, when Poulsbo’s population is 14,000, that the 4 MGD capacity is reached.

“The bottom line is the regional wastewater facility has sufficient capacity for the City of Poulsbo for the next 20 years,” Kasiniak said.

Not needing to contribute to an expansion at this point will save Poulsbo money. Estimates had put Poulsbo’s piece of a potential build out at as much as $14 million but now, Lincoln said, Poulsbo and the county have a chance to think farther into the future and consider a number of options for how to handle flows once they reach the 4 MGD mark.

“I’m so surprised,” commented Councilwoman Kathryn Quade of the component. “It’s not often that we err on the side that it becomes a savings for us.”

That realization also appears to be a boon for the Lemolo Citizens Club, which has been waging appeals against the expansion of that underwater system for about six years.

The real issue, Kasiniak said, now becomes getting the systems that feed to the regional system up to the 4 MGD stage in the next 20 years. Staff is recommending this be done through three major upgrades.

First updating the central Interceptor, which carries wastewater from Harrison to Johnson Road currently has a capacity of 2.8 MGD. Sealing and venting four shallow manholes would bring the route up to 4 MGD for about $30,000.

“So now, we have a system starting at Harrison and going to the county that can accommodate 4 MGD and all we’ve spent is $30,000,” Kasiniak commented.

The remainder of the conveyance improvements regard the Olhava project. The system includes State Route 305, Bond Road, the Lindvig Pump Station, Lindvig forcemain, a station at the Marine Science Center and the central interceptor. Two alternatives were suggested — revamping the current downtown route for about $3.02 million and buildingthe $2.18 million SR 305 route.

Staff is recommending the city pursue the SR 305 route, which would run a new sewer line down SR 305 between Bond and Hostmark, because of its lower cost and because it would add redundancy and flexibility to the system. Kasiniak noted it is estimated the city will have a population of 40,000 and a conveyance need of 6 MGD in 2055.

“This system, in the future, if we want to, can easily be updated to 6 MGD,” he said. “So it’s very flexible.”

Undertakings like inflow and infiltration (I&I) projects, which reduce the amount of non-wastewater seeping into older pipes, will also help elongate the life of the current system. The Central Poulsbo Collection System I&I, which may be able to save between 50,000 and 100,000 gallons per day, had been postponed indefinitely but Lincoln is suggesting it be put back on the docket. Right now, it is budgeted for 2006 but Lincoln said it could happen earlier depending on a number of factors.

“So that 4 MGD number, that could be a 30-40 year piece as we continue to upgrade our systems and infrastructure,” he commented.

Though there is still work to be done to get to the phase of a formal proposal, council members generally seemed supportive of the direction suggested Wednesday.

“I can’t help seeing the similarities with the water in that our facts and figures haven’t changed but our assumptions have,” Councilman Ed Stern said.

Council members praised Lincoln and Kasiniak’s work on the project, including their coordination with other department heads and city staff on the issue. Councilman Dale Rudolph said he especially liked how Lincoln had asked many of the public works crews out in the field about their opinions on the function of Poulsbo’s sewer system.

“It’s a tremendous advantage now that we have them all in house,” he said.

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