The Town of Winthrop has taken a small but necessary step in what Public Works Director Jeff Sarvis called a “lengthy and complicated process” to replace an aging water main.
At its meeting last week, the Town Council approved a $9,630 contract with Varela Engineering and Management to begin pre-planning work for replacement of the main, which crosses the Methow River at the Highway 20 bridge.
The main, which has badly deteriorated and is functioning with stopgap repairs, was installed in 1965. It is the only water main across the Methow River and serves more than 70% of the town’s population and businesses as well as the sole supply for firefighting.
The town is hoping for a federal appropriation of $667,000 to help pay for replacement of the main. Fourth District Rep. Dan Newhouse is supporting the town’s request for Community Project Funding in Congress, where he has submitted it to the House Committee on Appropriations for consideration. Sarvis said earlier that the request is still alive and working its way through the congressional process. An appropriation is not expected until 2023, Sarvis added.
The Varela contract will start work on necessary permitting that will involve several agencies including the Washington State Department of Transportation, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the state Department of Health, Sarvis said. That work needs to be done before actual design of the new main can begin, he said.
Having the work done now will expedite the design construction phases in the future, Sarvis said. He said the town is developing an “emergency plan,” with Varela’s assistance, in case the main fails or further deteriorates before it can be replaced.
In other business, the council:
- approved placing renewal of a 10-year emergency services levy on the November general election ballot. The levy helps support Aero Methow Rescue Service operations. The levy would assess 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, as it has in the past. The renewal would actually take place in 2024 and continue through 2033.
- approved an $11,200 contract with Highland Associates to review and suggest updates to the town’s shoreline master plan, which is required by the state.
- appointed Jodi Dean, co-owner of the River’s Edge Resort, to the Westernization Design Review Board.