Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Assembly OKs sewer plant upgrade


The Haines Borough Assembly voted Tuesday to approve a $1.9 million contract with Wolverine Supply of Wasilla for upgrade of the sewer treatment plant.

The project consists of removing and replacing a 75 x 85-foot pre-engineered building, installing a new screening/grit removal system, and removing and replacing siding and roofing on a 20 x 42-foot building. Electrical and heating upgrades also are included.

The bid from Wolverine Supply came in at $1,978,900. Other bidders were: Dawson Construction, $2,072,000; Alaska Commercial Contractors, $2,201,815; North Pacific Erectors, $2,817,995; and Kuchar Construction, $2,946,065.

Funding for the project includes $753,000 from the borough’s sewer fund balance and $200,000 from the borough’s capital improvement project fund. The state provided a $1 million matching grant.

“When we went into this we just considered phase one of the project, but the bids came in very well. Now we are getting the shell and screens moved,” Ryan said.

Haines has a waiver from the Environment Protection Agency to have only primary sewage treatment, consisting of mainly screening and settling. Settled and floating materials are removed and remaining liquid is discharged into the harbor.

Assembly member Tom Morphet asked Ryan if the borough were to go to secondary treatment, could the building be upgraded. “There’s no immediate funding for that or strategy to do that,” Ryan said, adding that it would not be a matter of adding on to the building, but rather building a secondary treatment facility.

Assembly member Heather Lende asked about the status of the waiver, and would it at some point in time be taken away.

Ryan said he talked to EPA officials who said they didn’t know when they would be able to review the Haines facility. If the waiver is removed, Haines would go to the state for direction as to what to do next, Ryan said.

“Is there any moral, ethical, or local economic reason why we shouldn’t be doing just primary treatment and should be doing secondary treatment instead? We are pumping this stuff into our harbor. Is there any kind of concern there at all?” Lende asked.

“I understand where you are coming from,” Ryan said. ‘Are we just pumping a lot of nasty stuff out there, where it’s going to come back to us?’ And I don’t think that is the case; we’re small, we have a lot of water out there. I’ve spent two years testing the water out there and to see if anything had come up on the beach. We had one test come up positive. But nearly 100 percent positive didn’t come from the wastewater outfall,” he added.

The resolution unanimously passed.


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