Water district on purple pipe: The sooner the better

Purple pipe for the Silverdale Water District’s water reclamation project could go in the ground as early as this summer if the district has its way. First, though, district commissioners will try to woo Kitsap County into a partnership to jointly design and fund the project.

That could be challenging, given that the county has told Silverdale water that the soonest a board-to-board meeting could be arranged would be sometime in early June. The timeline didn’t sit well with water commissioner Marcus Hoffman at the district’s most recent meeting on May 1.

“If we don’t get this agreement and this meeting of the minds quickly, we’re going to miss out on this front end of the money flow,” Hoffman said in reference to potential grant monies. “A month out is way too late.”

He and the other two water commissioners, John Poppe and Dave Cook, voiced their intentions to talk with county commissioners and find a sooner time to meet.

The district is eager for fast action not only to pursue grants, but also to participate in summer construction projects where purple pipe could be installed. Partnering with the county, they argue, would save on design costs, which would be duplicated if no partnership were in place.

“Your 15 or 20 percent of the project is design cost,” Hoffman said. “Well, I’m sorry, but we don’t have 15 to 20 percent of the money floating around.”

What all this means for water district customers isn’t entirely clear yet, but the district appears committed to offsetting as many costs as possible.

“It would be wonderful if we could receive grants and others paying for the total cost of the project,” district General Manager Morgan Johnson said.

County commissioners have appeared supportive of the water reclamation project thus far. They supported the district’s bid for a $250,000 grant from the Washington state Department of Ecology earlier this year and have voiced approval of the project’s intents — to conserve water and recharge wetlands.

“We signed on to support their grant because we thought it was a good idea,” Central Kitsap Commissioner Josh Brown said. “Those are forward-thinking ideas that I am in support of.”

Hoffman said he received enthusiastic support from North Kitsap Commissioner Steve Bauer in a recent conversation.

Concern has arisen during past district meetings, however, over whether the county would want to enter into a partnership with the district before the district forged an agreement over the terms of the $250,000 grant with the state Department of Ecology. That agreement is still pending with no word yet on when the department could approve it.

In the meantime, the district has made its intentions clear.

“We want to start working with the county right away to find placement (for pipes in the ground)” Johnson said.

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