Hoquiam approves $1.4 million sewer project

The The Hoquiam City Council voted Monday night to approve a $1.4 million contract with Rognlin’s, Inc. to replace failing sewer lines that date back to the 1950s. The money will come from a federal loan.

Work is likely to begin June 24 and crews will have 60 days from when they break ground to replace a 5,000-foot stretch of sewer main on Airport Way. City Administrator Brian Shay said that stretch of pipe has corroded significantly. He said the pipe has burst six times in the last eight years.

“And it’s a pressure line, so when it breaks the sewage goes everywhere,” Shay said. “Because of where it’s located, it pools and flows straight into the harbor. Then we’re liable for the damage.”

Shay said the city won’t have to increase utility rates to pay for the project. It will use a loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture with a 2 percent interest rate, which should be paid off in 40 years.

Because of the pipe’s location, the construction shouldn’t disrupt traffic. Shay said only one lane of the road will be closed at a time, and flaggers will manage traffic safely.

Council members voted unanimously to approve the contract. Councilman Ben Winkelman, who acted as mayor in Jack Durney’s absence, said the sewer main was a great investment for the city.

“I think our residents will support this move,” Winkelman said. “This new pipe will last us another 40, maybe 50 years.”