Council approves bid for Semiahmoo wastewater contract

Published on Thu, Jul 14, 2011 by Tara Nelson

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The city of Blaine will begin treating Semiahmoo’s wastewater now that officials have approved a $1.46 million construction bid.

In their regular meeting on Monday, June 27, council members voted 6-0, with Scott Dodd absent, to approve a bid from Boss Construction to construct additional piping and pump stations to transport wastewater to the city’s new Lighthouse Point Water Reclamation Facility on Marine Drive.

The project is funded mostly by a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) rural development grant and Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE) reclaimed water act grant. Blaine public works director Steve Banham said although the DOE’s grant requires local matching funds, those might also be paid through the USDA grant.

“At this point, all of it will probably be funded by USDA and DOE,” he said.

Although most of the piping between Semiahmoo and Blaine Harbor was already put in place during the first phase of Lighthouse Point’s construction, Banham said additional piping has to be installed and crews need to transition the wastewater flow from the old treatment plant to the new facility.

Semiahmoo currently generates about 100,000 gallons of wastewater each day, although the actual amount varies by season, Banham said.

Most of the old facility, located near Semiahmoo Park, will be demolished, but crews will leave the old pump station to use in case of emergencies. Crews will also install additional pumping facilities and will extend the pipe to the Semiahmoo Golf Course for future irrigation uses.

The move could also allow the Department of Health to re-open the adjacent area of Semiahmoo Bay to shellfish harvesting because the new plant’s effluent will be cleaner.

He added that Blaine’s wastewater treatment outfall is discharged into Semiahmoo Bay, and the change would have little impact on water quality in Drayton Harbor.

“The harbor’s water quality is caused by a variety of other factors such as farmland runoff,” he said.

Banham expects the project to be completed by November. Construction should begin in a few weeks.