The PUD has multiple COVID-19 Assistance Program for customers who need assistance paying their bills due to economic hardships resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Disconnects for non-payment and late fees are currently suspended per Governor's Proclamation 20-23.7.

The Grays Harbor PUD has approved a contract which will allow for the demolition of the Harbor Paper waste water treatment facility at no cost to the District or its customers.

On Tuesday, the PUD approved a contract with Hero Demolition LLC for the demolition and removal of the buildings and equipment that make-up the facilities wastewater treatment plant. The contract will allow Hero Demolition to take possession of and remove all salvageable materials in lieu of payment.

 “I am thrilled that we were able to reach this agreement,” said Commission President Russ Skolrood. “This contract will allow the PUD to continue to meet its obligation to clean this portion of the Harbor Paper site and to do it without absorbing costs which could impact our customers.”

The demolition work will include the removal of all the wastewater treatment facilities buildings and structures, including the primary clarifier, three secondary clarifiers, solids pumping station building, secondary treatment pump house, and the aeration blower building. The company will also remove all mechanical equipment, piping, electrical, roofing, siding, and wood materials.

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 piles of bark/rock mixture, sand ash and boiler grate material. PUD staff is working to fulfill those responsibilities in a way that meets their obligations while having the least possible impact on the PUD’s customers.

The Grays Harbor PUD has taken another step towards completing its portion of the clean-up of the former Harbor Paper mill site. On Monday, the PUD Commission Board declared over 80-thousand tons of paper production by-products as surplus, clearing the way for the PUD to sell, donate or dispose of the piles of ash and bark/rock mixtures.

In all, the PUD has declared 30,368 tons of grate ash, 31,265 tons of sand/ash fertilizer and 18,984 tons of bark/rock mixture as surplus.

“It’s another step in the process,” said Commission President Russ Skolrood. “So far we have come in under budget to pump out the remaining wastewater and demolish the wastewater facilities. Once we have test results on these piles, we’ll know more about our options to dispose of them at the lowest possible cost.” 

As the PUD awaits those test results, workers are completing the pumping of over 28-million gallons of treated water from the wastewater facility clarifiers and aeration basin into the City of Hoquiam’s sewage treatment system. The completion of that work will literally clear the way for the demolition of the facility.

Under its agreement with Rayonier Properties, LLC, the PUD is obligated to clean and remove the facility’s water treatment system and remove solid by-products including the piles of bark/rock mixture, sand ash and boiler grate material. 

Grays Harbor Public Utility District General Manager Dave Ward has been appointed by Governor Jay Inslee to serve on the Washington State Electrical Board for a two year term.

The Electrical Board is a 16-member board overseeing electrical inspections and the laws pertaining to the electrical industry in Washington state. Ward will serve the two years remaining on the Electrical Utility Representative seat vacated by the resignation of Richard Damiano.

“It is an honor to receive this appointment and I thank the Governor for his confidence,” said Ward. “In accepting this appointment, I hope to provide a voice for the customers of Grays Harbor and the utility industry, while ensuring that the residents of Washington’s rural counties are taken into consideration in all matters that the Electrical Board discusses.”

“My goals are to grow Washington’s economy, strengthen our schools and bring a new culture of performance and efficiency to state government. I know you can help me achieve these goals,” said Gov. Inslee in a letter congratulating Ward on his appointment. “I ask that you take personal responsibility for making sure the Electrical Board operates in a way that is transparent, responsive and focused on implementing lean management tools to achieve this.”

The Grays Harbor PUD continues to find ways to meet its responsibility to clean a portion of the Harbor Paper mill site with the smallest possible financial impact. On Wednesday, the PUD commissioners authorized the district to enter into a contract with Hero Demolition Corporation for the demolition and removal of the buildings and equipment that make-up the facilities wastewater treatment plant. The cost of the demolition will be covered by an agreement under which Hero Demolition will take possession of and remove all salvageable materials.

“The Grays Harbor PUD is committed to cleaning its share of the Harbor Paper site in a way that is responsible to both our customers and the environment,” said Commission President Russ Skolrood. “This agreement meets that commitment. We are working with a contractor who will not only demolish the wastewater facility, but will also remove the remaining material. That lowers the cost by thousands of dollars.”

By allowing Hero Demolition to retain all the salvageable material, the PUD will save an estimated $75-thousand. The demolition work will include the removal of all the wastewater treatment facilities buildings and structures, including the primary clarifier, three secondary clarifiers, solids pumping station building, secondary treatment pump house, and the aeration blower building. The company will also remove all mechanical equipment, piping, electrical, roofing, siding, and wood materials. 

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 piles of bark/rock mixture, sand ash and boiler grate material. PUD staff is working to fulfill those responsibilities in a way that meets their obligations while having the least possible impact on the PUD’s customers. 

Regular updates and keeping a close eye on an uncertain future should help the Grays Harbor PUD end 2014 on budget. The PUD has begun to hold monthly internal meetings to review finances for this year and 2015 to put them in a better position to maintain budgeted numbers and handle the unexpected.

"Eyes ahead," said Commission President Russ Skolrood. "That is how we ensure that we finish on budget and have the ability to handle unseen scenarios that could impact us."

Four months into the year, Chief Financial Officer Doug Streeter says the PUD is on track to finish 2014 within budgeted totals. That includes a potential 1.75% rate increase that will go into effect on July 1st. The increase stems from an October rate hike by the Bonneville Power Administration, a portion of which was deferred by the board until the summer. The mid-year increase is the beginning an effort to assist customers by not increasing their monthly bills during the holiday season.

"We are still working to get that number down," said Streeter. "We put this increase off until the summer to help our customers. Now we are reviewing each item within our budget in an attempt to reduce the size of the increase.”

PUD revenue totals are expected to end 2014 at or slightly above budgeted amounts, allowing the PUD to improve and strengthen its financial position.