Department of Ecology dam safety inspectors survey Aberdeen’s Fairview Reservoir No. 1.

COURTESY DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY Department of Ecology dam safety inspectors survey Aberdeen’s Fairview Reservoir No. 1.

Aberdeen gets grant money for reservoir slope stabilization

  • Mon Oct 7th, 2019 4:30pm
  • News

The Department of Ecology has received more than $150,000 in FEMA funds to split between two dam projects in the state, including $75,000 to determine options for slope stabilization at the City of Aberdeen’s Fairview Reservoir No. 1.

The reservoir is one of two located on 9th Avenue west of North E Street. City Engineer Kris Koski said both are covered with black liners to protect against contaminants in the millions of gallons of the city’s drinking water both can hold.

“There has been some settlement on the northeast side of Fairview Reservoir No. 1, and that is something we take seriously,” said Koski. The grant will allow for a survey of the site and some geotechnical work to determine what work needs to be done to stabilize the slope and what remedies are available.

Built in 1914, Fairview Reservoir No. 1 has a capacity of 9.5 million gallons and, like reservoir No. 2, gets its water from the city’s reservoir about 20 miles up the Wishkah Valley, said Koski. The water from the main reservoir is piped to a treatment plant located above the Wishkah School, into the reservoirs, then distributed to the city. Fairview Reservoir No. 2 was built in 1926 and has a capacity of 15.5 million gallons, said Koski.

Public Works Director Rick Sangder had authorized staff to apply for the grant, said Koski. In addition to the funds that Ecology was awarded, the city must provide a 35% match, according to Ecology.

In Washington, a dam owner, in this case the city, is legally responsible to safely maintain, repair and operate its dam. The state Dam Safety Office helps to ensure dams are properly designed and constructed. It inspects existing dams for proper operation and maintenance.

Ecology’s Dam Safety Office regulates 1,055 dams in Washington, of which 409 pose a potential risk to people living and working below, according to an Ecology statement.

The funds are part of a new FEMA grant program, $10 million to provide assistance for planning and other preconstruction activities such as data collection, design and permitting. Ecology applied for funds to assist three dam owners, and two of these were accepted.

The funds will be split evenly between the City of Aberdeen to work on slope stability issues and the city of Newcastle to stabilize and remove the Newcastle Railroad Embankment Dam, according to Ecology.

For the next year, both dam owners will use dam engineer consultants to collect and analyze data and develop solutions and designs.

“Through our inspection program, we identified both of these projects as being in poor condition and needing engineer assessments and repairs,” said Joe Witczak, Ecology’s Dam Safety office manager. “This is the first year this grant funding was available and we intend to apply again next year in support of other high hazard dams in need of repair.”