Water project stuck in the mud

Posted: Friday, September 26, 2008

Water project stuck in the mudMother Earth has impeded the progress of engineers trying to get city drinking water to Kenai Peninsula College, Soldotna council members learned Wednesday.

The project to extend city water to the community college was halted when workers spotted drilling mud rising in Slikok Creek, according to City Manager Larry Semmens.

One aspect of the two-part project called for boring beneath the creek bed to run a water main under the creek on the way to the school.

"The drilling mud is not a biohazard to fish or other wildlife, but it is not desirable," Semmens said. Slikok Creek flows into the Kenai River near the south edge of the college campus.

Now, the workers will look to dig a trench for the water line across the creek bed and then bury it, he said.

On a more positive note, Kenai Watershed Forum Executive Director Robert Ruffner reported dramatic reductions in the level of hydrocarbon pollutants in the Kenai River.

"I wanted to come before each government body that took part in (developing) regulations for a clean river," Ruffner said.

While the river remains on the Environmental Protection Agency's impaired water body list, Ruffner said in the first year of activity to clean up the river, the hydrocarbon readings were at "4 or 5 parts per billion or less" each day.

Last year, when the river was placed on the list, hydrocarbon readings were 20 ppb, he said.

"We had a remarkable reduction," Ruffner said.

In other business, the city council set a public hearing for Oct. 8, on Ordinance 2008-25, appropriating a $178,000 state grant for roads, water and sewer improvements, and a hearing for the same day on Ordinance 2008-26, appropriating $75,441 for police equipment.

Semmens said the infrastructure grant will be used to pay the remaining costs of the Well C-2 tie-in project and the remaining expenses on a portion of the Kalifornsky Beach Road sewer improvement project.

The police grant money will be used to buy mobile police communications equipment, including notebook computers and BlackBerry smart phones for all Soldotna Police patrol cars.

The grant also will fund Fatal Vision driving demonstrations, which will be presented at Soldotna schools.

The council also approved four resolutions on its consent agenda without debate.

One of the resolutions increased the contract with Wolverine Supply Inc., by $29,000 for clearing and grubbing a marshy area at the northwest corner of Soldotna's airport.

Semmens said the work is necessary to eliminate the wet area as an attractant to waterfowl, which could impede airplane traffic.

Resolution 2008-59 extends the contractual time limit of a temporary employee hired to replace Tracy Marrs, a utility department operator who has been deployed to Iraq with the National Guard.

The union contract limits the length of time a person can serve as a temporary employee to six months. Marrs' deployment is expected to run 15 months.

The resolution also allows new employees to receive holiday pay as soon as they are hired, rather than waiting 15 days before qualifying. Another resolution approved Wednesday calls for supporting efforts of the Tsalteshi Trails Association to receive a state grant for maintaining ski trails near Skyview High School.

Bill Holt, a member of the trails association, was on hand to thank the council for its support.

The fourth resolution awards a $23,850 contract to Tramco Inc. for Soldotna Sports Center fluorescent light fixtures. The new fixtures over the ice rink will conserve energy in the future, according to Semmens.

At the request of Mayor Dave Carey, the council agreed to once again pay the $250 rent for conducting Veterans Day ceremonies in the sports center.

The city began sponsoring the event three years ago when it was moved to the indoor venue from the Leif Hansen Memorial Park in Kenai. Veterans Day is Nov. 11.

Phil Hermanek can be reached at phillip.hermanek@peninsulaclarion.com.Alternative method to connect KPC to be used

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