Tag Archives: public works

30 apply to be Bainbridge public works director

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The city has chosen eight semifinalists for its public works director position. The semifinalists were selected from a pool of 30 applicants from 17 states, according to the Friday city manager’s newsletter.

Six of the eight semifinalists are from Washington. One semifinalist is from Texas, and one is from Indiana. The semifinalists will complete a brief online interview. Finalists will be selected Oct. 1. The finalists will visit the island in mid-October for more extensive interviews.

The city is searching for a permanent replacement for Lance Newkirk, who resigned this spring. John Cunningham is serving as interim public works director.

Bainbridge advertises for public works director

Bainbridge Island’s public works director vacancy is now being advertised nationally.

The listing is posted on the website of search firm Strategic Government Resources. SGR is giving the public works position the same treatment it gave the city’s manager and police chief openings. Consultants hosted a forum to gather community input and developed this glossy profile:

Bainbridge Island Public Works Director by tsooter

Requirements for the public works position include at least eight years of experience in public works, a bachelor’s degree in engineering (master’s preferred), and a professional engineer’s license. The salary will vary depending on the applicant’s qualifications. Former Public Works Director Lance Newkirk earned $131,000 a year.

Newkirk announced his resignation in April, but only recently left the city’s payroll. The city hired John Cunningham as an interim public works director at a rate of $100 an hour.

The deadline for applications is Sept. 3.

City criticized for slow, incomplete response to sewer spill

City Council members on Monday questioned whether the city’s response to the Eagle Harbor sewer leak was too slow and not comprehensive enough to ensure the health and safety of people and the environment.

Councilwoman Kim Brackett, who visited the leak site near the Winslow ferry terminal shortly after it was identified on Saturday, was unimpressed with the city’s efforts to protect the marine ecosystem and clean the beach of solid waste.

“This is a very significant environmental issue for the health of Puget Sound,” she said during a council Public Works Committee meeting. “Was there an effort to capture (the waste) and pickup the tissue paper sitting on the beach? I was a little stunned to not see anybody there to clean it up.”

The corroded, 32-year-old pipe blamed for the leak, which spilled an estimated 140,000 gallons of sewage into the harbor, was repaired Tuesday morning. Public works crews had installed a temporary band on the pipe on Sunday, after about 70,000 gallons of solid and liquid waste flowed freely into the harbor. The band halted the flow of solids but not liquid effluent, allowing an additional 70,000 gallons of sewer water to escape.

Assistant Public Works Director Lance Newkirk said high tides delayed repair work until early Tuesday morning, when an extremely low tide was expected.

Responding to Brackett, Newkirk declined to assess the city’s response to the spill.

“I’m not prepared to comment on how well – or not well – we did,” he said.

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UPDATED: Corroded pipe leaking raw sewage into Eagle Harbor

Over 105,000 gallons of raw sewage has spilled into Eagle Harbor from a corroded pipe near the Winslow ferry terminal.

A total of 140,000 gallons is expected to flow into the harbor before work crews can fix the leak, said Lance Newkirk, assistant director of the city’s public works department.

Health officials issued a no-contact advisory for all of the harbor and the seven miles of shoreline between Yeomalt Point and Rockaway Beach on the island’s east side. Residents are asked to not touch the water or low tide areas for 10 days.

“We haven’t seen a big (pipe) break like this in a while,” said Kitsap County Health District water quality specialist Jim Zimny.

The pipe carries much of the Winslow area’s sewage to the treatment plant on Hawley Way.

High tides are expected to delay a full repair until Tuesday. The beach surrounding the immediate spill area has been cordoned off and a temporary metal band was installed over the pipe’s ruptured areas.

“It’s like a Band-Aid that’s preventing the solid content from going into the bay,” Newkirk said. “We’re now at a stable point and are just waiting for a favorable tide to make the permanent fix.”

The city is employing six pump trucks at various locations north and east of Winslow to draw out sewer water before it reaches the damaged area.

The pipe is the main line carrying sewage from the Winslow area west of Highway 305 and south of Murden Cove. About three-fifths of the Winslow sewer plant’s liquid effluent flows through the pipe, Newkirk said.

City officials are asking residents to curb their water and sewer usage until Tuesday afternoon.

“We want to reduce the flow, so any delay in water usage – from washing clothes to taking showers – will help,” Newkirk said.

Sewage was flowing freely from the rusty pipe into a murky trench on Monday morning. Toilet paper and other solids were scattered nearby.

“It was a lot more pungent on Saturday,” said John Anderson, whose Irene Place home sits directly in front of the ruptured pipe. “And it was bubbling pretty dramatically through the tide.”

Corrosion on the 32-year-old pipe’s is blamed for the leak.

“We didn’t see any external factors,” Newkirk said. “It really was the pipe’s age.”

The leak was reported to the city at 3 p.m. on Saturday. Tides delayed the city’s response until 5 a.m. on Sunday. Unexpected additional corroded areas also complicated the repair efforts.

Health officials are concerned that warm weather and clear skies may draw many people to the contaminated beaches and water.

“The timings bad,” Zimny said. “If this was in winter, less people would be attracted to the beach.”

Sunlight may help “disinfect” the contaminated water by killing bacteria in a matter of hours. However, the continued sewer flow means surrounding waters will remain a health risk, Zimny said.

While ruptures like the one in Eagle Harbor are rare, larger amounts of sewage have poured into Kitsap waters in recent years. Power outages during winter storms in 2007 caused millions of gallons of effluent to seep from several sewer treatment plants, Zimny said.

BI Public Works reducing customer service hours

The city’s public works is now operating with four fewer customer service hours each week.

Starting today, the department’s counter will close at noon on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

The department had been open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

City Hall will remain after noon on Wednesdays and Thursdays, but engineering staff availability to the public will be limited to previously-arranged appointments with patrons who have permits in
process.

The new hours will match the planning department’s recently reduced counter hours.

Public works’ reduced customer service hours staff more uninterrupted time
to focus on improving the department’s efficiency and responsiveness, according to City Engineer Bob Earl.

Planned improvements include updating permit application forms, revising and improving design and construction standards, capital bid documents, bidding processes and capital cost estimating.

Bainbridge public works director resigns

UPDATED: Bainbridge Public Works Director Randy Witt will resign later this month to take a position with King County Metro Transit.

His last day with the city is January 23.

Witt, a Bainbridge resident since the early 1990s, took the helm of the city public works department in 2000 after serving eight years as Bremerton’s city engineer.

In his new position as King County Transit’s design and construction manager, Witt will lead a planned $385 million capital design and construction program.

“This is an exciting opportunity that will allow me to return to the activity that drew me to engineering – designing and constructing improvements that serve communities,” Witt said in a statement.

City Engineer Bob Earl and Deputy Director of Operations and Maintenance Lance Newkirk will jointly manage the department until Witt’s replacement is selected, City Administrator Mark Dombroski said.

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Budget proposal cuts into the meat of municipal matters

Mayor Darlene Kordonowy wants to trim more than the fat.

Her combined $135.5 million budget proposal for 2009 and 2010 would cut into the meat of emergency services, city staff and several core city functions to offset a continuing trend of falling revenues, largely because of the island’s slowing housing market.

“We’ll have to do more with less,” Kordonowy said during her presentation of the biennial budget to the City Council on Wednesday night.

City staffing levels, under her proposal, would take a 10 percent hit, knocking the city’s 152 full-time positions down to 140 in 2009 and 138 in 2010.

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