Stormwater replacement approved amongst a sea of port projects

Posted 12/1/22

The Port of Port Townsend has all hands on deck as projects continue piling up.

At the port commissioners’ meeting last week, officials approved a $210,000 professional services agreement …

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Stormwater replacement approved amongst a sea of port projects

The Port of Port Townsend has committed funds to build a biofiltration facility like this one at the Port of Tacoma.
The Port of Port Townsend has committed funds to build a biofiltration facility like this one at the Port of Tacoma.
Photo courtesy of the Port of Port Townsend
Posted

The Port of Port Townsend has all hands on deck as projects continue piling up.

At the port commissioners’ meeting last week, officials approved a $210,000 professional services agreement with engineering firm Kennedy Jenks for stormwater improvements at the Boat Haven Marina.

And with Point Hudson’s breakwater already under construction, port staff is now eyeing Boat Haven’s breakwater for repair and replacement.

To top it all off, the potential acquisition of the Short’s Family Farm continues to be discussed while questions from the community also arise.

More certain is the new biofiltration management system to be constructed by Kennedy Jenks. Using natural elements such as ponds and vegetation on the surface, stormwater will filter through layers of sand, gravel, and other material until it is discharged as treated water.

“It’s similar to a rain garden,” said Matt Klontz, director of capital projects and chief engineer for the port.

“We like things that are ecologically minded and this is using plant life. Big picture, this is something that we can maintain and it doesn’t require a lot of complicated systems.”

The port has received almost $2 million in funding from the federal government for the project, which is budgeted to cost roughly $2.6 million. The remaining money will come through the port’s Industrial Development District funds.

The natural success of that project can also be said for the jetty at Point Hudson, which continues to stay ahead of schedule.

Point Hudson looks so good, in fact, that it has the port staff eager to get to work on its next breakwater at the Boat Haven Marina.

While the Army Corps of Engineers owns and maintains the first 1,950 feet of that breakwater, the port remains responsible for 550 feet at its end, which was built in the 1950s.

Subsequent repairs in 1983 and 2016 have kept it functioning, and now port staff has determined one more round of paired-back repairs will be enough to hold it together as they begin design work on a replacement.

The port had originally budgeted $400,000 in its 2023 capital budget for more robust repairs, but staff has now determined that it will spend only $185,000 in order to put the remaining funds toward a replacement copying the structure of the Army Corps current structure.

“The goal would be to have the Army Corps take on ownership,” Klontz said.

“We’ve met with the Army Corps,” said Eron Berg, the port’s executive director. “We have language that authorizes the Army Corps to study that question. There’s a lengthy process.”

The newest project on the docket, however, is perhaps the most controversial.

The port’s possible purchase of the Short’s Family Farm sparked two letters from the public warning against the idea and commissioners noted that they had been getting questions from the public.

“We’ve been receiving a lot of letters and people are very passionate about it,” said Port Commissioner Pam Petranek.

A public meeting to discuss the farm is still in the planning stages with a date to be scheduled sometime in January 2023.

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