Utilities Committee Presentation and Recommendation

OWSI submitted a general rate increase by surcharge to the UTC on March 5th.

The following summarizes the application:  General rate increase request that would generate approximately $100,440 (14.2 percent) additional annual revenue. The filing is requesting a surcharge to support a new manganese filtration treatment plant and full-time disinfection with chlorine.  This treatment plant is being designed to eliminate the manganese, arsenic and iron water quality issues.  This surcharge will cover the costs being incurred in the evaluation of the system and a construction estimate for the water treatment system. A surcharge of $5.00 per month ($10 per billing cycle) is being requested.  The surcharge will expire in 2038 or when $2,014,214 of the project costs are recovered.

Since the March 5th Informational Meeting, the Utilities Committee has had many communications with the UTC and DOH and met in person on March 22nd with UTC and DOH staff.  We’ve also had many Committee meetings in an effort to provide the best information to the community. I’m estimating that over 200 hours of volunteer time have gone into this effort.  The following is a summary of the facts as we know them today:

From UTC:

  1. OWSI applied for a surcharge request and has submitted all the supporting documents required for a surcharge pursuant to WAC 480-110-455.  When ruling on a surcharge request, the UTC only considers the project cost and owners ability to pay for that project.  The financial condition of the company and allocated expenses between business units are not considered as they would be in a full rate case.
  2. Annual Reports that OWSI submits are only used by the UTC to determine the amount of annual fees the company pays based on their revenues. There is no audit or evaluation of the information submitted unless something unusual jumps out relating to the fees owed.
  3. The UTC prefers at least a 70% ratepayer – 30% water company split of cost to ensure the owner has skin in the game.
  4. Surcharge monies are required to be deposited in a separate bank account which can only be used to pay project expenses and repay the loan.
  5. The application for surcharge assumes $2.2M project construction cost which is an estimate at this point. Once construction is completed, an application for a revision will be made by OWSI which would result in the specific surcharge being based on actual costs.
  6. The UTC Docket for OWSI’s application is 190160 and will be considered at the April 11th Open Meeting of the commission. It’s scheduled to be on the regular agenda.  Staff will present their recommendation, persons may make a short-concise public comment (usually 3 minutes) after which the Commissioners will deliberate and make a ruling.  They can make one of three rulings.  They can approve the application as submitted, they can suspend the ruling for further information, or they can suspend the ruling for a formal process in which case the attorneys take over.

From DOH

  1. The DOH has awarded OWSI a Loan of $2.1M with a 20-year repayment period. The interest rate is 2.25 percent which could go to 1.75 percent if the project completed in two years. The two-year time period begins the date the loan is countersigned by the DOH.
  2. An Environmental and Cultural Review must be completed and accepted by the DOH before the loan is approved and funds made available, but those are anticipated to be completed before the end of August.
  3. The DOH requires a progress report with every draw request and a Quarterly Report. Before the loan is closed out, the company must submit an audit.
  4. Strict bid, project management, and construction procedures are required due to the fact that both State and Federal regulations apply.

From OWSI:

  1. Greg Rae will be the project manager and HDR Engineers will handle the day-to-day details.
  2. The Environmental and Cultural Reviews are scheduled to be completed in August.
  3. Final engineering documents that will go out to bid are scheduled to be completed in February 2020.
  4. Construction is scheduled to begin in summer 2020.
  5. OWSI has indicated that they will make their best efforts to complete the project within two years.

Closing Comments: 

  1. Although many questions have been asked on the PLVC website and to Committee members, there is unanimous agreement within the Utilities Committee that the project needs to be done and completed as quickly as possible.
  2. It is obvious that the community is better off in the long run if the majority of the project costs are funded by the DOH loan at 2.25 percent or less and repaid by the surcharge. Any monies the company contributes to the project costs are subject to a return on investment of up to 12 percent and could be used in the future for a rate increase.
  3. OWSI ratepayers that want to submit a comment should look at the UTC website, http://www.utc.wa.gov, and click on “Submit a Comment” under Consumers in the middle of the page. Any received public comments should be submitted by tomorrow, April 5th as they will become part of the public record and used by staff to make their recommendation to the Commissioners.  The UTC Staff Memo will be available on the UTC website three days before the Open Meeting on April 11th – a week from today.

So, as a result of the Utilities Committee thorough research and deliberation, we unanimously recommend the following to the PLVC Board:

It is recommended that the Board take the position that clean water is essential within the Port Ludlow community and that Olympic Water and Sewer, Inc. (OWSI) should undertake appropriate steps necessary to ensure clean water is provided.  It is a further position that how such actions are paid for should be considered in a collaborative manner with OWSI, PLVC and the Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC). 

It is further recommended that the Board not take a position at this time on the water surcharge application due to a current lack of adequate information.

Advance Planning Seminar

The Beach Club
121 Marina View Drive, Port Ludlow
Saturday, March 2, 2019

12:30 Sign-in
1:00 – 4:00 Program

Cost of seminar: Free
Peace of Mind: Priceless!

  • Get some tools to help you have crucial conversations with your loved ones about end-of-life options.
  • Learn how to maximize your quality of life in your final days.
  • Leave with a completed Advance Directive which reflects the latest thinking on the medical realities facing all of us at end of life.
  • You are encouraged to bring your adult children with you.

Sign-up at the Beach or Bay Club



MARCH 5th, 3 – 5 P.M.

The PLVC Utilities Committee is hosting a Informational Meeting where OWSI will explain the application they are making to the Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) for a new water treatment surcharge. The funds from the surcharge will be used construct a filtration system to meet Washington State Department of Health (DOH) regulations. The proposed surcharge will amount to $5 per month for each customer. Representatives from the UTC, DOH, OWSI’s engineering consultant, and OWSI will be in attendance to present the details and to answer questions.

A FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) link will be created on the PLVC website, where answers to questions about the surcharge will be posted. Furthermore, if you have additional questions, please Contact Us.

We look forward to seeing you on March 5th.

Russ Michel
Utilities Committee Chair

When the Lights Go Out

Sat., February 2, 2019, from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm, at the Beach Club.

When the Lights Go Out Presentation

Port Ludlow has experienced quite a few windstorms and subsequent power outages this winter. WHAT IF our next outage isn’t due to a windstorm or other short-term cause, but is the result of a catastrophic disaster that knocks out power indefinitely, for months?

This is a very real concern because many of our neighborhoods are all electric or a combination of propane gas and electric. What do we do if power is interrupted for the long term? What can individuals or neighborhoods do to prepare for communication, heating and cooking without normal utility power?

All these questions and more will be answered at “When the Lights Go Out” seminar, presented by Mark Bauserman, and associates. Mark is a volunteer with the Jefferson County Department of Emergency Management and a member of the Local 2020 Jefferson County Neighborhood Prep (NPREP) Committee.

The seminar, hosted by the PLVC Emergency Management (PLVC-EM) and sponsored by the LMC, will be offered free of charge. Seating is limited. Registration is not required, but those who do register will be guaranteed a seat. Register today at http://bit.ly/WhenTheLightsGoOutReg

If you’re planning to attend, please come prepared with knowledge of the size of your electrical service (found on the main breaker of the household electrical panel) and the size of any liquid propane tanks you might have serving appliances, such as hot water, dryers, stove, heating or fireplace. Please email nbneighborspl@gmail.com if you have questions or need more information about the seminar.

Please email nbneighborspl@gmail.com if you have questions or need more information about the seminar.


During the discussions surrounding the PUD’s recently passed 2019 budget, General Manager Larry Dunbar stated the goal to heighten focus on improving the customer experience, crew safety, and overall system reliability.

Recent near system-wide transmission outages have led the PUD to survey its transmission corridor for potential tree hazards. Trees are the PUD’s number one cause of outages.

The 30 – 45-year-old aging electric distribution infrastructure also fails from time-to-time resulting in an outage. During the last six weeks the PUD has experienced three faults in the underground cable along Swansonville Road which serves as the primary feeder for power to Port Ludlow. These faults have led to the repeated loss of power for thousands of customers in the Port Ludlow area. In 2016 and 2017 only one fault occurred. The underground cable is approximately 9,000 lineal feet. It is the original cable and is at the end of its service life.

To improve system reliability, the PUD recently finished the installation of a new conduit system for the first 2,700 lineal feet along Swansonville Road. Beginning Saturday December 15th, the PUD will begin installing about 600 feet of cable into the new conduit, including the section where the most recent faults occurred. PUD crews may be closing one lane of Swansonville Road which could extend into next week. Flaggers will be on site. PUD staff are continuing to evaluate the cost and timeline to complete the remainder of the project and will present the findings to the Board of Commissioners in the new year.

You can continue to keep up-to-date by visiting the PUD website at www.jeffpud.org

Russ Michel
PLVC Utilities Chair

“BIRD HILL” Neighborhood Gathering (PLVC Emergency Management Event)

Port Ludlow Village Council – Emergency Management

Invites you to attend a special “BIRD HILL” Neighborhood Gathering Join with neighbors to discuss and plan your Bird Hill neighborhood strategies for helping each other in the event of a long-term emergency disaster.

Monday, October 22nd 6:00-8:00 PM Port Ludlow Beach Club

Emergency preparedness is a necessity for our area. Your input will be germane to the success of Bird Hill and our individual streets’ action plans.

We are STRONGER when we prepare TOGETHER! For questions, comments or to let us know you’ll be coming, email nbneighborspl@gmail.com.





Beginning Wednesday, October 10, 2018 we will be feeding a small amount of chlorine which will possibly become apparent at the customer taps.  This is being done as part of the investigation of a routine bacteriological sample testing positive for Total Coliform (negative for possible disease causing e-coli and fecal coliform)

AFFECTED AREA:  Service zone “B” is the area located east of Oak Bay Road. (See map on last page) This service zone originates at the well sites south east of Olympic Terrace 2 and supplies water to customers from the well sites North to Montgomery Court. The only Properties west of Oak Bay Road to receive water from these wells are the commercial development containing the Dental Office, Sound Bank and Coldwell Banker. The area is served by Wells 14 and 16 and Reservoirs C and D

THE REASON: OLYMPIC WATER & SEWER, INC. Water System, I.D. 68700L, located in Jefferson County submitted routine drinking water samples to a certified laboratory for the month of  September 2018 for total coliform analysis.  The sample was collected on September 25, 2018.

The test results indicated that there was Total Coliform bacteria present in the sample but no fecal or E. Coli.

The samples were taken from a routine sample station at 412 Camber Lane.  Because of the configuration of the water pipes, we are confident that the only properties potentially affected are in service zone area “B” as described above.

PRECAUTIONS:  Since only Total Coliform has been detected, there is no immediate health risk to our customers.  If an immediate health risk had existed, you would have been notified right away. However, as a precaution the Washington State Department of Health has recommend that if you are currently taking chemotherapy, undergoing kidney dialysis, or have an immune deficiency you may want boil  water. Total Coliforms are common in the environment and are generally not harmful themselves, however any indication of contamination is thoroughly investigated.

INVESTIGATION: The following investigation and follow up actions are being taken in consultation with Washington State Department of Health:

All of the wells and Teal lake reservoir that serves the area were tested for coliforms.  The samples from the wells and Teal Lake reservoir were negative. Samples were pulled at the 412 Camber Lane sample station and at homes near the sample station in accordance with the OWSI coliform monitoring plan. The only follow up sample to have coliform present was located at 412 Camber Lane. On October 4 a sample was collected at reservoir “C” at the top of Highland Drive (past the golf course pro shop) that tested positive. A negative sample was collected on October 5 at reservoir “C. Flushing and retesting have provided results that are indicating coliform results that were very inconsistent. Due to those inconsistent results chlorination is the next step in eliminating the coliform.

OWSI has retained HDR Consulting Engineers to guide OWSI through the process of determining the source of the coliform. Once the source has been identified OWSI will take appropriate actions to eliminate the risk of future events.

Summary of Samples and Lab Analysis:  (all negative for e-coli)

  • Initial samples on Camber Lane: Positive for Total Coliform
  • Follow up on samples on Camber Lane.: Positive for Total Coliform
  • Wells 14 and 16: Negative for all coliform
  • Sample at Reservoir C (Highland Drive): Positive for Total Coliform
  • Sample at Reservoir D (Teal Lake Rd.): Negative for Total Coliform

 While we continue our investigation we have decided that the most efficient way to cure the problem is through a light chlorination.   We will continue this for up to two weeks, or until all of our follow up samples show that the problem has been corrected.

While we strive to deliver the highest quality water possible to our customers, unfortunately situations such as this do occur periodically in a non-chlorinated system.  Thank you for your understanding and patience.  Please do not hesitate to call us with questions.


Greg Rae
Olympic Water and Sewer Inc.
Email:  owsi@portludlowassociates.com

Below is further information from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regarding Total Coliform.

The following is mandatory language required by the Environmental Protection Agency in these situations.  .

 The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets water standards and has determined that the presence of total coliforms is a possible health concern.  Total coliforms are common in the environment and are generally not harmful themselves.  The presence of these bacteria in drinking water, however, generally is a result of a problem with water treatment or the pipes which distribute the water, and indicates that the water may be contaminated with organisms that can cause disease.  Disease symptoms may include diarrhea, cramps, nausea, and possibly jaundice, and any associated headaches and fatigue.  These symptoms, however, are not just associated with the disease causing organisms in drinking water, but may also be caused by a number of other factors other than your drinking water.  EPA has set an enforceable drinking water standard for total coliforms to reduce the risk of these adverse health effects.  Drinking water which meets this standard is usually not associated with a health risk from disease-causing bacteria and should be considered


Service Zone B is the unshaded area of the map


The Trails Committee is looking for someone who enjoys working to maintain our trails and who has the organizational skills to coordinate volunteer powered trail maintenance and improvement projects. The official name for this role is Maintenance Manager and there is an official description in our policy and procedure document.
If this sounds like something you would enjoy doing, please contact me thru the link below or come to the next Trails meeting at the Port Ludlow Fire Station at 9 am November 6.
Beth Ely
Trails Steward Coordinator


BareBones Productions will be performing A. R. Gurney’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated play, Love Letters, at the Port Ludlow Beach Club on Thursday October 18 and Friday October 19th at 6:30 p.m. The tickets will be available at the door for only ten dollars. As always, complimentary beverages will be provided by Peter and Beth Ely. Hearing assisted devices will be available.
All the net proceeds from these shows will be donated to the Tri-Area Food Bank to help the hungry of our community. So, come and bring a few friends!