Army, water rates topic of next Port of Mattawa meeting

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MATTAWA — The Port of Mattawa will be holding their next commissioners meeting in the Wahluke School District board room due to several extra visitors that will be attending. The Yakima Training Center has approached the port about renting some of their land to use as a staging area for floating bridge training and amphibious river training.

“We’ve been discussing a five-year lease,” said Lars Leland, executive director for the Port of Mattawa, during a regular board meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 12. “If we can get a partnership with the U.S. Army, that would be great. They really want to work with the Port.”

Several members of the U.S. Army from the Yakima Training Center will be attending the next meeting to answer any questions the commissioners have. The Wahluke School District has agreed to allow the Port of Mattawa to hold the December meeting in their boardroom to accommodate the extra visitors.

The commissioners will also be holding a public hearing to discuss industrial wastewater rates for 2020. The Port has not raised the rates since the Port started the service in 2008.

“As you can imagine, things have changed since then — increased power, chemicals, lab testing etc,” Leland said. “There are many different classifications of rates dependent on BOD loads. This is just preliminary but we are looking at a 30 percent increase.”

In other business, the commissioners approved the 2020 budget. Prior to adoption, the commissioners asked about a few of the categories and suggested an increase in legal from the $10,000 budgeted up to $17,000.

“I am wanting to limit our correspondence with them as much as possible,” Leland said. “I’m fairly confident we’re not going to spend that much next year.”

Overall, Leland said he was happy with the budget.

The commissioners directed Leland to proceed with unplugging a pump on the bottom of the wastewater lagoon. Leland suggested hiring divers to do the work.

“These divers go into human sewage,” Leland said. “They’re the real deal.”

Unplugging the pump is only a temporary fix until the lagoon can be dredged. To do that, it has to be empty. During the meeting, a few ideas about alternates to the pump were discussed. No decisions on how to permanently fix the problems in the lagoon were made.

The next Port of Commissioners meeting will be held on Monday, Dec. 9 at 5 p.m. For more information, call (509) 932-4928.

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