The septic system at the popular North Peninsula Recreation Service Area pool in Nikiski is in imminent danger of failure.
Karen Kester, recreation director of the service area, said the situation was discovered in late May when excavation revealed the 27-year-old fiberglass septic tank "could go any day."
Design and replacement of the system was estimated at around $30,000. The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly voted unanimously Tuesday to appropriate that much from the service area's capital improvement account.
The emergency nature of the project led the assembly to forego the normal public hearing process on an expenditure ordinance, which it can do in order to meet public emergencies affecting life, health, welfare or property.
The assembly also authorized borough Mayor Dale Bagley to waive formal bidding procedures in order to find a contractor and repair the septic system as quickly as possible. That likely will involve getting quotes over the phone and picking a contractor, according to Bagley's aide, Ed Oberts.
Kester said she does not think the project will require closing the pool, but she couldn't be certain until she consults with the contractor. For now, she said, pool personnel are watching the septic system closely and going day-by-day.
"It hasn't failed yet, but its imminent," she said. The old tank was installed in 1975 and seams appear ready to break.
"Everyone knows our facility has grown three-fold since then," she said. "What rescued us was that we pumped it regularly."
The Nikiski facility sees an average of 150 to 200 people a day during the warm summer months and about 100 a day in the fall and winter. An annual event called Family Fun in the Midnight Sun, however, could bring in as many as 500 people on June 15.
Kester said she hopes the work will have been done by then, but if not, she is considering having the tank pumped just before the event and perhaps having a pumper truck standing by.
Among the things being considered now is what kind of system should be installed. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation is being consulted, according to the borough Public Works Department.
"Time is of the essence," Kester said.
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