Happy Spring!  I hope everyone enjoyed the last bit of sunshine this past weekend before we enter a long forecast of April showers.  Stevenson Clean-Up Day is scheduled for April 21st, hopefully it will dry out for a successful event!  It is being managed this year by the Stevenson Downtown Association and you can contact them at director@stevensonmainstreet.org .  As the weather starts to turn, the city continues its progress towards priority projects.

Wastewater Projects:

CERB Grant-An application for the Community Economic Revitalization Board planning grant was submitted last week.  This will help fund a feasibility study of pretreatment options for high strength users in the city’s waterfront district.

Downspout/Sump Pump Inspections-The Public Works crew has been chipping away at the downspout and sump pump inspections for those that have signed up.  We currently have 68% of the sewer customers on the inspection list.  If you have not yet called, please do so to save yourself the monthly $10 charge.

Why is the city charging me for my downspouts or sump pump?

The city has exceeded its permitted limit of sewer coming into the plant.  The limit is not on the gallons of sewer treated, but on the type of sewer treated.  There is a Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) limit on sewer treated at the plant and this is the limit being exceeded that is triggering the need for the plant upgrades.  When it rains, BOD increases.  Some of this increase is due to rainfall inflow from private downspouts connected to the city sewer or sump pumps that pump groundwater into the sewer.  Reducing both of these sources of inflow will help to reduce the BOD coming into the plant.  New construction is prohibited from connecting their downspouts to city sewer.  The monthly fee for this will increase in the future to encourage disconnection.

Treatment Plant Operations-On March 29th the city met with the Department of Ecology to discuss a BOD effluent (into the Columbia) limit violation.  The event occurred partly because one of the clarifiers was down for repairs.  When the plant received a slug load of waste with high BOD it caused the plant to foam.  Staff was alerted to the matter and took actions to prevent it from foaming over.  However, because of the clarifier being down the BOD was not able to be reduced to our effluent permit limits.  Ecology followed-up our conversation with an email summarizing what was discussed and a list of documentation and information the city provide as a follow-up to our discussion.

The job opening for a Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator I, II or III has been posted.  The first review of applications will take place on April 30th.

Russell Avenue-The city has secured up to $850,000 to repave the street and reconstruct the sidewalk along Russell Avenue between Second Street and Cascade Avenue in 2019.  We will work with the Stevenson Downtown Association and other shareholders on the design.  The waterlines under the road will also be replaced and utilities will be moved underground.  The plans for the upper section of Russell, from Second Street to Vancouver, will wait until we have additional funding for both the street and waterline repairs.  We might work to pair it up with construction for the Courthouse Plaza depending on timing.

Water Projects:

Water System Plan-The City’s Water System Plan has come back from the Department of Health with their comments.  We are working through them and plan to have a final document for council approval in May.

SCADA System-The current system is in need of an upgrade and the initial cost estimate was around $100,000.  Staff talked with Skamania PUD regarding their system and contacted the vendor.  This may result in an upgrade for around $30,000, a substantial savings which will allow for a faster implementation.

Base Reservoir Roof-The water budget included re-roofing Base Reservoir this year.  We had it inspected to make sure the structure was sound before improving the roof and received the good news that no improvements to the structure are needed.  The Department of Health approved the roof that will be installed and the project will move forward over the next month or two.  This project is expected to come in under budget and will extend the life of the structure another 20 years.

Shoreline Management Program-There will be a public hearing on the city’s Shoreline Management Program on Monday, April 9th at 6pm at the Port Waterfront, Tichenor Building Suite 70, Cascade Avenue.

GIS Mapping-The City is partnering with Skamania PUD and Skamania County to have the utility infrastructure input into a GIS map for city use.  As we move forward on a smart metering system, the data from each meter will be added to the map.

Dog Park-Staff received information about an AARP grant that the city could apply for to create a dog park.  The proposed location is next to the high school across from the base reservoir on Gropper Rd.  We will solicit input from residents and the public before applying for the grant and moving too far along on the park.

Broadband-The City has hired an intern for the broadband project in cooperation with the Washington City/County Managers Association Summer Fellowship.  Kimberly Pearson comes from the Evan’s School of Public Policy and Governance through the University of Washington.  We look forward to her joining the city team and moving this project forward through the summer!