Contractor completes critical step in Snake River sewer line project

By Kristi Pihl, December 14, 2014, Tri-City Herald

Apex Directional Drilling successfully pulled a 6-inch pressure sewer pipe under the Snake River on Friday.


Installing that pipe inside a 10-inch carrier pipe was one of the critical remaining steps in connecting the Columbia School District in Burbank and the Burbank Business Park to the city of Pasco’s sewer system.


Port of Walla Walla officials have worked to extend sewer to the 120-acre business park — which has commercial and light industrial zoning and easy access to Highway 12 — with the goal of spurring economic development in Burbank. The community and the school district rely on septic systems to handle waste.


Paul Wemhoener, the port’s project manager, said Portland-based Apex might be able to do a pressure test of the newly installed pressure sewer pipe some time this week. The contractor still has cleanup work that might take until the beginning of January to complete.


But after the test is complete, the port will finalize the contract for the next phase of the sewer project, he said.


Port commissioners unanimously decided to award to Rotschy Inc. of Vancouver, Wash., a $2.2 million contract to connect the school district sewer system to the sewer line that will run under the Snake River.


That portion of the project includes building two sewer lift stations, installing about 8,400 linear feet of sewer lines and 3,300 feet of water lines and decommissioning the school district’s septic tanks.


The port received nine bids for the next phase of the project. Rotschy’s bid was less than the engineer’s estimate.


Officials expect the overall project to cost about $6.9 million, with $3 million provided by the state.


The port is waiting for the state Department of Ecology and Pasco to approve the design of the connection between the Snake River pipe and the sewer system, as well as a project being built by Columbia East, Wemhoener said.


Once that approval is received, port commissioners will consider going out to bid for the project that will finish the connection between the port’s system and Pasco’s sewage treatment system.


Hopefully, the port will go out to bid late January, he said.


The goal is to have the sewer system up and ready to use before the next school year starts at Burbank’s three schools.


Commissioners reached an agreement with the city of Pasco in 2012 to buy 100,000 gallons of daily sewer capacity for $900,000 paid over three years. The port will buy additional capacity in the next 15 years and also pay the city and other sewer fees.


The port will pay Pasco monthly for sewer services with fees collected from the users of the new system, including the school district.


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