No surprise, rain brings up water levels at reservoir

After mostly dry weather in June and early July, the more typical rain of late has helped refill the community’s water reservoirs.

The lower reservoir was looking pretty low around the Fourth of July and the borough was looking to start siphoning water from the upper reservoir to ensure enough supply to meet community needs, Public Works Director Tom Wetor said last week.

“That’s when we got all the rain,” he said, adding that water levels are much improved. “It looks like we’re going to get through this year without any major factors.” Rain is in the forecast at least to Aug. 1 — the start of Wrangell’s rainiest season.

Not that Wetor wishes for rain all the time. “If it could just be sunny Thursday through Sunday and rain Monday through Wednesday, that would be perfect.”

The closure of the Trident Seafoods processing plant for the third summer in a row has helped reduce water demand in Wrangell, Wetor said, as has a down year for crab catches, which has reduced water needs at other seafood processors.

Construction of a new water treatment plant for the community will help reduce some of the worry of insufficient water levels during dry spells, Wetor said.

The new plant will be more efficient than the slow, gravity-based sand filters at the existing facility, treating more water faster to move into the distribution system. “There’s a limitation of what we can even produce,” he said of the 25-year-old system. The new plant also will include more storage capacity for treated water, Wetor said.

Dependent on final designs and construction bids, the borough is looking for the new treatment plant, last estimated at $17 million, to start operations in September 2024, Public Facilities Director Amber Al-Haddad said last Friday.

Separate from the new treatment plant, the borough is looking at building a new pipe system to move water from the upper reservoir directly to the treatment plant, providing for backup when needed. Currently, staff has to start up a pump to siphon from the upper reservoir into the lower basin when water levels get low.


Reader Comments(0)

Rendered 06/23/2024 18:40