Grays Harbor Public Utility District Commissioner Arie Callaghan has been elected to serve as Assistant Secretary to the Energy Northwest Board of Directors. Callaghan will serve a two-year term as Assistant Secretary for the board of the public power agency which represents 22 PUD’s and five municipal utilities.
“I am very excited to take an active role in this organization and to have a positive impact,” said Callaghan. “It’s gratifying to be a part of such a successful organization.”
“I want to thank Arie for accepting this leadership role on the board of directors. I congratulate him and the newly re-elected officers representing the board of directors and the members of Energy Northwest,” said Energy Northwest Chief Executive Officer Mark Reddemann.
Energy Northwest is responsible for the operation of a mix of electricity generating resources, including hydro, solar, wind projects and the Northwest’s only nuclear power plant. Combined they provide enough reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible energy to power more than a million homes each year.
“This is a great organization that benefits the entire region,” said Callaghan. “To have a seat on its board of directors gives Grays Harbor a voice in the discussion that will help to shape energy policy in the Northwest.”
Callaghan was elected to the Grays Harbor PUD Board of Commissioners in 2012. He was appointed to the Energy Northwest Board of Directors in March 2014.
It was far less formal than planned, but Grays Harbor PUD Commissioner Russ Skolrood has been sworn into office. Skolrood, who was reelected to his District Three post in November, took the oath of office on Monday afternoon, administered by Clerk to the Board and notary public Tiffanee Chaufty.
Although informal, the oath is official and will allow Skolrood to begin his second term and vote on Board action. A formal ceremony will be held at a later date.
Skolrood was originally scheduled to take the oath before Superior Court Judge David Edwards at the beginning of the PUD’s first Board of Commissioners meeting of 2015 (scheduled for 4:30 Monday afternoon). However, due to the aftermath of the morning’s flooding, the meeting was shortened and the ceremony postponed.
Grays Harbor PUD crews responded to several scattered outages Monday morning as several inches of standing water flooded main roads, side streets and several homes in Aberdeen, Hoquiam and Cosmopolis. While there have yet to be widespread outages caused by Monday's storm, PUD crews are asking customers to call the Grays Harbor PUD Outage Reporting Hotline at 360-537-3721 or 1-888-541-5923 to report any outages that may have occurred.
While the Grays Harbor PUD will be closing early today to allow employees to reach their homes safely, line crews, a substation crew and essential IT and facilities staff will remain on duty to deal with power restoration and any emergency issues that occur.
The Monday evening PUD Commissioners meeting will take place earlier in the day, beginning at 3:30PM in the Nichols Building meeting room. The abbreviated meeting is expected to last no more than half an hour, allowing all attendees to leave before dark.
The Harbor Paper aeration basin is once again empty. After years of holding the water and sediment that remained from the treatment of wastewater, the 4.5 acre basin is empty for the first time since the completion of its construction in the summer of 1977. On the evening of December 30,, 2014, the last dump truck rolled out of the basin, carrying the final load of “sludge” to the Cowlitz County Landfill, the closest landfill licensed to receive the waste product.
“It’s a significant moment in the Grays Harbor PUD’s efforts to remove and demolish the Harbor Paper wastewater treatment facility,” said PUD General Manger Dave Ward. “From the beginning of this project, our goal has been to find ways to complete the work with the smallest possible impact to our customers. The work in the aeration basin is one of the best examples of innovative thinking and cost saving solutions that we have.”
After examining multiple options for the loading and transport of the sludge, the PUD chose the method with the lowest cost: to rent trucks, trailers and a loader and hire drivers and a loader operator to transport the material to the Cowlitz landfill. In all, the PUD trucks made 525 trips to Cowlitz County over a three month period, shipping 14,523 tons of sludge, an average of 27.6 tons per trip. The final cost of the disposal of sludge totaled $490-thousand.
“Had the PUD used a private contractor, the cost for hauling and dumping the sludge would have been between $720-thousand and $900-thousand,” said Ward. “Thanks to our dedicated staff, the PUD arrived at a solution that responsibly disposed of thousands of tons of industrial waste and did so at a significant savings to the PUD and its customers.”
Under its agreement with Rayonier Properties, LLC, the PUD is obligated to clean and remove the facility’s water treatment system and remove solid byproducts including the basin sludge and piles of bark/rock mixture, sand ash, and boiler grate material.
As the Grays Harbor PUD prepares to implement a new Customer Service Information system, they are reminding customers of a change to billing practices that will impact a small number of customers who have elected to use the bi-monthly billing option. The new system the PUD is transitioning to does not have the capability to provide a bi-monthly billing option so beginning in January of 2015, all Grays Harbor PUD bills will be delivered on a monthly basis.
“PUD staff began notifying customers in October of 2014 to allow them to adjust their budgets to the monthly billing cycle,” said Chief Financial Officer Doug Streeter. “In that time we hope they will have made changes that will allow them to start 2015 under the new billing cycle.”
The elimination of bi-monthly billing will impact fewer than 300 PUD customers, but Streeter says they need to know that Customer Service representatives are ready and able to help with questions or offer payment options that may make this transition easier. Grays Harbor PUD Customer Service can be reached at (360) 532-4220, 1-800-562-7726 or via email, firstname.lastname@example.org.