City of Stevenson Winter 2019 Newsletter

Value Planning for Clean Water Facilities

The City recently participated in a Value Planning workshop to explore alternative strategies for our wastewater challenge.  A link to the blog co-written by the City and Skamania EDC on the process can be found here.

Aviso público – Audiencia pública – Community Development Block Grant

SE DA AVISO POR EL PRESENTE que se llevará a cabo una audiencia pública ante el Concejo Municipal del Concejo Municipal en las cámaras del concejo al 7121 E Loop. Rd, Stevenson, Washington el Jueves, 17 de Mayo a las 6:00 de la tarde.
El objetivo de la audiencia pública es revisar el desarrollo comunitario y las necesidades de vivienda, informar a los ciudadanos de la disponibilidad de fondos y usos elegibles de la subvención estatal de desarrollo comunitario (CDBG) y recibir comentarios sobre las actividades propuestas, particularmente de personas de bajos ingresos.

Se pueden poner a disposición de Stevenson hasta $ 750,000 a nivel estatal para financiar instalaciones públicas, instalaciones comunitarias, desarrollo económico, planificación y proyectos de viviendas asequibles que beneficien principalmente a personas de ingresos bajos y moderados.

Un resumen del Programa de Rehabilitación del Hogar propuesto estará disponible para su revisión en el Ayuntamiento de la Ciudad de Stevenson y en la página web de la ciudad comenzando de inmediato. Los comentarios también pueden enviarse por escrito a la Ciudad de Stevenson, 7121 E Loop. Rd, PO Box 371, Stevenson Washington 98648 a no más tardar de las 5:00 p.m. el jueves, 17 de Mayo de 2018

Un intérprete de español estará disponible. Las cámaras del consejo de la ciudad de Stevenson tienen acceso para discapacitados. Se realizarán arreglos adicionales para acomodar razonablemente las necesidades especiales al recibir un aviso con 24 horas de anticipación. Póngase en contacto con Leana Johnson en el Ayuntamiento de Stevenson, 509-427-5970.


Leana Johnson
Administrador de la ciudad

Public Notice – Public Hearing – Community Development Block Grant

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that a public hearing will be held by the City of Stevenson City Council in the council chambers at 7121 E Loop Rd, Stevenson, WA on Thursday, May 17th at 6:15 p.m.

The purpose of the public hearing is to review community development and housing needs, inform citizens of the availability of funds and eligible uses of the state Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), and receive comments on proposed activities, particularly from lower income persons.

Up to $750,000 may be available to Stevenson on a statewide competitive basis to fund public facility, community facility, economic development, planning and affordable housing projects that principally benefit low- and moderate-income persons.

An outline of the proposed Home Rehabilitation Program will be available for review at the City of Stevenson City Hall and on the city’s web page beginning immediately. Comments may also be submitted in writing to the City of Stevenson, 7121 E Loop Rd, PO Box 371, Stevenson, WA 98648 no later than 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 17th, 2018

A Spanish interpreter will be available. The City of Stevenson council chambers is handicap accessible. Additional arrangements to reasonably accommodate special needs will be made upon receiving 24-hour advance notice. Contact Leana Johnson at Stevenson City Hall, 509-427-5970.


Leana Johnson, City Administrator

Moving Forward

May is quickly upon us and the city continues to move forward on the wastewater project.  The fire hall project reached a new milestone with the kick-off the design phase.  More details can be found below.

Fire Department-The Request for Qualifications has been published for design services on the new Fire Hall.  The full RFQ can be found on the city’s website at  There will be a pre-submittal conference at the Fire Hall on Thursday, May 10th at 4pm.  Final RFQs are due on Tuesday, May 22nd at 5pm.

Tourism Applications-The Tourism Advisory Committee has published a mid-year call for applications for tourism promotion activities.  Applications are due on Wednesday, May 30th at 10am and the application can be found under the Spotlight on the city website at

Wastewater Project:

Value Planning-The kick-off meeting took place last week regarding the value planning effort with the Center for Sustainable Infrastructure.  The date for the meeting with all of the stakeholders will take place on either June 5-6.  The final date will be finalized soon.

Month Long Testing-On May 8th, Wallis Engineering and the Department of Ecology will meet with industrial and significant users of the system to discuss the plan for the next round of testing.  The goal is to determine where the BOD loadings are coming from, determine a fair allocation of BOD loading to each significant user and find the reason behind the foaming at the plant.

Base Reservoir Roof-The contractor has been busy cleaning off the roof for installation of a new membrane roof at the reservoir.  Below are some pictures of the work completed so far.

Looking SouthIMG_2175IMG_0279IMG_0281

Thank You Volunteers!

Wow, the weather was great for this past weekend’s Stevenson Clean-up event!  The volunteers were great and we appreciate their efforts to clean-up overgrowth, pull weeds and dig the waterline ditch for the new drinking fountain that will be installed at Walnut Park.  The Pacific Crest Trail Association also held a Trail Skills College course on New Trail Construction in Stevenson for a new trail connecting First Street with the waterfront.  There is still a bit of work to be done, but it looks great!  Without their work, this path would not have moved forward.  Again, a big thank you to all of the volunteers!

In other news, council heard from residents and business owners about possible changes to the marijuana license buffer zone at the April 19th council meeting.  There will be an ordinance proposed at the next council meeting, May 17th, to reduce the buffer zone down to 100 ft.  Schools and public playgrounds will maintain a 1,000 ft. buffer.  Updates on other items talked about at the council meeting and projects moving forward are below.

Fire Department- The Fire Department has been awarded a $96,000 grant for a new command vehicle through the Department of Ecology’s Spill Prevention, Preparedness, and Response Equipment Grant!  This need was identified during the recent Eagle Creek and Archer Mountain Fires when volunteers were responding in personal vehicles that were not very visible.  The command vehicle will allow the department to access areas on the waterfront if the crossing is blocked by a disabled train.  It will also allow them to transport response trailers from our mutual aid partners, such as 1) Flammable Liquids Foam Trailer in Bingen, 2) Regional HAZMAT DECON Trailer in Carson, 3) Regional MCI Response Trailer in Stevenson, and 4) Fire Medical REHAB Trailer in Stevenson.  The vehicle would also be available to tow the Skamania County Sheriff’s Boat, Quad Trailer and SAR trailer if asked to.  By adding this piece of equipment to our department, the city is increasing the resiliency of the area to respond to an oil spill or other hazardous material incident.

Base Reservoir Roof-The contract for re-roofing the city’s base reservoir has been signed and work will begin this week.

Wastewater Project:

Pretreatment Ordinance-The city council adopted a revised pretreatment ordinance at the April 19th council meeting, which meets the deadline of April 30th for this requirement in the city’s Administrative Order.  A copy of the final ordinance can be found on the city’s Clean Water Facility Upgrades page

Operations Audit-At the April 19th council meeting, a contract with Wastewater Solutions, Inc. was approved to conduct an audit on the operations of the treatment plant.  The goal is to optimize the city’s treatment of wastewater received at the plant to maintain our compliance prior to the planned upgrades.

Value Planning-Previously I mentioned the Center for Sustainable Infrastructure (CSI) performing a value planning effort with the city and it possibly being paid for out of our Department of Ecology Loan.  We are still waiting to hear if we will be able to use the DOE funds for this project, however council approved moving forward.  A kick-off meeting is scheduled for April 25th and the process is expected to take about 8 weeks.  A draft of the statement of work is in the last council meeting packet.

Month Long Testing-There continue to be foaming events at the treatment plant.  The city has discussed conducting a month-long test of the industrial and other significant users of the wastewater system to again research the source of the BOD loadings.  Council authorized the funds needed to conduct this testing with Wallace Engineering.  The goal will be to determine where the BOD loadings are coming from, determine a fair allocation of BOD loading to each significant user and find the reason behind the foaming at the plant.

Foam-One Problem, Many Causes

While it was spring break for some last week, others stayed and enjoyed some of the warm and rainy weather.  The city continued to work on solutions for a recent problem with the wastewater system. Over the past two months, the wastewater treatment plant has received waste that causes it to foam.   This has happened on Tuesdays for the prior 7 weeks and on Wednesday this past week.  The issue is coming from the East side of town since we see the foam in the Rock Creek pump station.  A couple of times it has also been found at the Kanaka Creek pump station.

What are the consequences?  The city does not staff the treatment plant 24 hours a day.  If staff is able to notice a problem right away, we can make changes at the plant to reduce the foaming impact.  When we do not catch the issue in time, it can lead to a foam over of the facility and we need to contact the Department of Ecology (DOE).  Another impact of the foam is that it prevents adequate treatment of the wastewater.  This can lead to the city exceeding its permitted levels of effluent (water going into the Columbia) for BOD (Biochemical Oxygen Demand) or TSS (Total Suspended Solids).  This occurred in late March with a foaming event.  Staff regularly tests the effluent and fecal coliform was not present.  The city is currently under an Administrative Order with DOE and if we continue to violate the permitted effluent limits, it may lead to fines.  On top of that the city is working with DOE to conduct a value planning effort and possibly extend the timeline on some compliance schedule requirements.  When the permit violations persist, it removes any negotiating power we may have.

What are we doing?  Staff has contacted high strength users to see if they have changed processes which may have led to the foaming and none have.  Staff continues to research causes and will start monitoring the sewer lines to determine where the issue may be coming from.  Consultants have also been helpful with trying to determine the cause and working for a solution absent of finding the source of the problem.

If you are aware of any event or activity that may be causing this issue, please contact Eric Hansen, Public Works Director at 509-427-5970.


Foaming event at the WWTP on 4/4/18.

Foaming event at the WWTP on 4/4/18.

Happy Spring!

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 .  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!

First Stevenson Blog Post- Recent Wastewater Project Updates

Over the past month there have been many discussions and developments on the wastewater project.  In order to better communicate these and other updates summarized below, I decided to create this blog.  The goal is to provide more recent updates than once a month at city council meetings.  It is also to inform those that may not be able to attend the council meetings.  Please bear with us as we adjust to this new form of communication.

February 26th

Eric Hansen and Leana Johnson met with a pretreatment vendor and discussed alternative treatment methods at the city’s plant that could potentially cut construction costs.  There is a follow-up meeting with him and Kennedy Jenks on Thursday, March 22nd to discuss the actual construction costs and operations and maintenance costs.  The information will then be passed along to the Right Sizing committee to further evaluate this potential alternative.  He recommended we talk with the City of La Center as this technology was used in their more recent plant upgrades.

February 27th

There was a meeting with the Department of Ecology, High Strength Users and the city regarding pretreatment.  People present included: Greg Zentner, DOE; David Knight, DOE; Leana Johnson, City Staff; Scott Anderson, Mayor; Amy Weissfeld, Councilmember; Eric Hansen, City Staff; Ben Shumaker, City Staff; Bruce Nissen, LDB; Steve Funk, LDB; James Landers, Walking Man; Mary Repar, Citizen; Pat Albaugh, Port; Kari Fagerness, EDC; Steve Waters, Backwoods, Zacc Gielow, LDB.  There were multiple questions from the users and the city sent to Ecology before the meeting.

  • Will DOE allow all treatment at the WWTP? (meaning businesses won’t do any pretreatment)
    • The Ecology short answer was yes, as long as it is consistent with the city’s plan and doesn’t upset the plant:
      •  There need to be safeguards to protect the plant from slug loads.
      • The users still need to regulate the pH of the discharge.
    • The City would need to work with an engineer to determine what the load and flow limitations should be to protect the plant and collection system.
  • Could you elaborate on the Industrial Permit fee schedule? (the website says $500 and higher)
    • WAC 173.224.040 contains the fee schedule for the permit.  The users here would fall under the broad category of “facilities not otherwise classified”.

FY 2108                 FY 2019

  1. < 1,000 gpd                                         1,318.00               1,377.00
  2. 1,000 – < 10,000 gpd                        2,726.00               2,849.00
  3. 10,000 – < 50,000 gpd                     6,578.00               6,874.00
  4. 50,000 – < 100,000 gpd                  10,523.00             10,997.00
  5. 100,000 – < 500,000 gpd               21,040.00             21,987.00
  6. 500,000 – < 1,000,000 gpd           26,300.00             27,484.00
  7. 1,000,000 gpd and greater             39,456.00             41,232.00
  •  Do you know of other towns/businesses that have retrofitted existing buildings with pretreatment facilities?
    • Ecology mentioned the City of Vancouver has used a pretreatment lagoon since the 1980s for industrial users that is permitted with their treatment plant.
    • The other city mentioned was West Richland and they have an industrial pretreatment facility for existing wineries that was recently permitted.  (staff obtained a copy of a report created on the West Richland I-Plant).
  • Do you know of any analysis that has been performed that looks at pretreatment VS. affordability to businesses and residents?
    • No, they do not know of any analysis.
  • Is an Industrial Discharge Permit and User Survey required whether or not the City adopts a pretreatment ordinance?
    • A User Survey is required and is part of the city’s NPDES permit.  Any user that contributes over 5% of the treatment plant’s loadings is deemed a “Significant Industrial User” and would be required to apply for an Industrial Discharge Permit.  It would be up to Ecology and discussions with the city as to whether or not a permit would be required.  If a permit is not required, then the city would enter into a contract with the user that establishes their BOD and other discharge limitations.
  • If a municipality were to create a pretreatment facility for industrial users, would they still be required to obtain a permit, or would it be regulated under the City’s NPDES Permit?  If the Port ran the Facility?  If the facility were privately operated?
    • If the city were to construct a pretreatment facility, then it may operate under the city’s current NPDES permit.
    • If the facility were Port or privately ran, it would need its own NPDES permit.

Ecology also mentioned at the meeting that they would be open to extending the timeline with an explanation of the rationale behind the extra time needed.

At some point in the meeting there was a discussion about the efforts of the users to sidestream some of their waste to lower their numbers.  When the city retested during this time, the BOD numbers were still high, and in some cases higher than the initial round of testing.  Ecology did not have an answer to this as they would have expected to see some change.

February 27th

Eric Hansen, Ben Shumaker and Leana Johnson met with Councilmember Amy Weissfeld to debrief the meeting with DOE and the High Strength Users.  At that meeting, consensus was reached that the city will conduct a month-long testing of industry to obtain more information on their BOD contributions.

March 5th

The topic of a month-long testing was discussed at the department head meeting with the Mayor Scott Anderson.  In order to help resolve the conflict that exists over the BOD data, the Mayor suggested holding a meeting with the High Strength Users to get agreement on the testing protocol and the data.  Staff will wait to test until LDB has a new testing location installed in order to test all high strength users at the same time.  The expectation was that a meeting would take place in the next few weeks.

March 7th

A follow-up meeting with Department of Ecology and city staff (Ben Shumaker, Eric Hansen and Leana Johnson) took place to discuss time extensions in our current compliance schedule.  One request Ecology had was to have the city document the operations and maintenance procedure for the plant with the overloadings.  In other words, how will the city manage the current plant to maximize the treatment process over the next few years before the new plant is online?  They also recommended the city reach out to Carl Jones who works as a roving operator for DOE for additional guidance on optimizing the plant operations.

The city mentioned the possibility of changing the plant design.  Ecology’s response was that it would need to come through as a plan amendment and the city has until December 2019 for Ecology to approve a revised plan.  While they will entertain extensions to certain parts of the compliance schedule, they still expect the city to apply for construction funding in the fall of 2019.

March 8th

Ben Shumaker and Leana Johnson met with the Port, EDC and Rhys Roth with the Center for Sustainable Infrastructure to discuss the project and hear about the issue from the involved parties.  The group toured Backwoods Brewing, LDB and Walking Man to get a perspective on operations, connection to city sewer, testing port and wastewater impacts the organization may have within their process.  Rhys also discussed his involvement and what the outcome may be of a value planning effort.  While they have an Economic Development Assistance grant for some of this work, additional funds would be required for technical assistance.  A phone call is scheduled for Wednesday March 21st with DOE to see if the additional funds already applied for could be used for this effort.

March 9th

Eric Hansen, Leana Johnson and Councilmember Robert Muth toured the City of La Center wastewater treatment plant.  Their plant was completed in 2010 at a cost of $12.8M.  It was designed by Kennedy Jenks and utilizes a membrane bioreactor (MBR) system to treat its mostly residential sewage.  The plant is very clean and they are able to expand capacity through phase 2 by only adding additional MBR screens.  The water at the plant is recycled and used in the treatment process, requiring no water from the city water system.  Solids from the process are heated and dried to a Class A biosolid, which allows it to be used for any topical application as you would compost.  This would remove the cost of hauling solids, which the city paid about $5,000 per month for in 2017.  One challenge staff sees with this type of plant is that the La Center plant has very low BOD (in the 200s).  While they do experience higher flows with rain events, they have a fairly young sewer system and a low percentage of infiltration and inflow.  Stevenson would need to look at this option closely to ensure that it would be effective for our situation and variability with flow and BOD.

March 13th

Eric Hansen and Leana Johnson met with Apollo regarding a follow-up to the energy audit they are currently conducting.  They mentioned the possibility of installing solar panels at the wastewater treatment plant when it is upgraded to reduce the energy costs of the plant.  There would be grants available for that additional infrastructure to cover the costs.

March 13th

Eric Hansen, Leana Johnson and Ben Shumaker met with TetraTech to discuss a phone call they had with DOE after the city’s March 7th phone call with DOE.  Some topics discussed were identical to the message DOE provided to the city, such as an expectation for a construction funding application in the fall 2019 cycle.  They also mentioned possibly requiring an operations and maintenance audit in a revised administrative order as a way to optimize plant operations between now and when the plant upgrades are completed.  Additional items discussed included a willingness on the part of DOE to open up the discussion to delay the construction of a second aeration ditch.  This would be conditioned on at least the following items:

  1. Confirmation that the concrete for the existing ditch is in good shape.
  2. Recalculation of the plant loading capability and submit standard engineering calculations to DOE on the revised capacity.
  3. Documentation on the improvement of sludge settleability (sludge volume index data).
  4. Hire a level III Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator.

If the city is able to get DOE agreement on delaying a second aeration basin, the construction of the headworks would also be delayed for a total possible cost savings of $4M.

March 14th

Leana Johnson and Kari Fagerness attended a workshop for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding as one source of grant funds for the wastewater project.  The goal of the CDBG program is to benefit Low-Moderate Income (LMI) persons.  The city of Stevenson does not meet the requirements to be eligible for the funding, however we will be conducting an income survey for the project area to see if the smaller subset of the city would qualify for those funds.  This would need to be done by a third party to meet CDBG and other funding source survey requirements.

March 15th

Eric Hansen provided an update to council as to the events that took place between council meetings.  Councilmember Mark Peterson read a letter he wrote voicing his concerns about the wastewater project.  Council discussed their concerns about the project in depth and how they can be addressed.  Staff was directed to obtain a quote for the cost of inspecting all of the city’s sewer lines to get a scope of the infiltration and inflow problem.  Council also approved submittal of the Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) grant application, with the understanding that the match funds will come from the city.  The CERB grant is for a feasibility study on pretreatment options for the High Strength Users.

March 20th

Ben Shumaker and Leana Johnson, along with Kari Fagerness, EDC; Pat Albaugh, Port; John Goodman, PUD; Amanda Hoey, MCEDD; Jessica Metta, MCEDD; and Bob Hamlin, Skamania County Commissioner, met with a representative from the Economic Development Administration and discussed a potential 80% grant funding opportunity for wastewater collection system improvements.

Truck traffic on SR14 – Information about how to write your Legislators

To: Stevenson Community Members

Date: April 10th, 2015

Re: 2nd Street Traffic & Pedestrian Safety

Dear Community Members,

One of the causes of excessive truck traffic in downtown Stevenson is Oregon trucks driving on the Washington side of the river to avoid paying Oregon’s weight-mile tax. Several community members asked us to provide information about how to write our legislators asking for legislative assistance with this problem. A copy of a letter recently sent by the City of Stevenson to Senator King is attached <<here>>.  A copy in Word format is <<here>> for your information. You may write or email our elected officials at the following addresses:

Governor Jay Inslee
Office of the Governor
PO Box 40002
Olympia, WA 98504-0002

State Senator Curtis King, Transportation Chair
305 John A. Cherberg Bldg
PO Box 40414
Olympia, WA 98504-0414

Representative Gina McCabe
P.O. Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504-0600

Representative Norm Johnson
122C Legislative Bldg
PO Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504-0600

Or the following email addresses:


Click <<here>> for a copy of the original memo
Click <<here>> for the letter sent to Senator King
Click <<here>> for MS Word  document for your information