Councilmembers propose use of raw sewage technology

Technology to measure condition of sewage pipe, reduce expose to COVID-19

The+non-invasive+technology+can+measure+the+condition+of+a+sewage+pipe%2C+said+Kevin+Gardes%2C+councilmember+and+Pullman+public+works+director.+

ALYSSA STANFIELD | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

The non-invasive technology can measure the condition of a sewage pipe, said Kevin Gardes, councilmember and Pullman public works director.

JENAE LAXSON, Evergreen reporter

Councilmembers discussed reducing possible exposure to COVID-19  from raw sewage by using non-invasive technology during a city council meeting on Tuesday. 

The technology can measure the condition of a sewage pipe, said Kevin Gardes, councilmember and Pullman public works director. 

This would be an efficient way to determine the condition of the pipes while reducing possible COVID-19 exposure to the maintenance crew, he said.

“The [Environmental Protection Agency] has demonstrated that this device is effective for six to 12-inch pipelines,” he said. “The more efficient we are at assessing sewer lines, the less likely it is that there will be [sanitary sewer overflows].”

This would also indirectly limit contact between Pullman residents and the sewage maintenance crew, he said. For example, if a root-ball, which is a ball-like object formed by plant roots, was not picked up by a maintenance crew and instead went into a resident’s home through their pipes, then it could expose them to COVID-19. 

Mike Urban, Pullman director of finance and administrative services, said the city’s expected revenue for the next two years will be similar.

“When I projected these revenues for 2021 I was optimistic, but in 2022 I was slightly pessimistic writing these budgets,” Urban said.

A new event center at Lawson Garden Building will be on bid next month, he said. It is not currently in the budget, but once there is a bid, it will be put into the budget. The center is expected to be built in 2021. 

“We are trying to get the best price for our taxpayers,” he said.

Councilmember Pat Wright had concerns about the reallocation of funds if the event center bid is too expensive.

Councilmember Laura McAloon said the funds can be reallocated by the council. These funds will need to be reallocated by 2023 to not break the event center contract.

The city is still working to acquire a piece of property for Fire Station Three, Urban said. The highest possible price is still being determined and the right piece of property has not been found.

Urban said city activity needs to be depicted more accurately to the council and community. This is being done by combining funds into the same budget, like combining the fire budget and the ambulance budget.