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Port to install year-round water system at marina

The Dalles Marina will see installation of a new weatherized water system to replace the system that has already failed.

“We approved a system that, when the temperature drops, has pumps that will kick on and keep the water moving until the temperature goes back up,” said Kathy Norton, marina coordinator for the Port of The Dalles. “It’s set on a thermostat.”

The new lines will run atop the docks instead of below, as the previous system did. The change will make system maintenance much easier.

“You can see it,” Norton said. “When the system is under water, it’s constantly being buffeted by water and if there’s an issue, you don’t see it.”

Boathouse owners will be required to insulate their own lines from the port system into their boathouses, Norton added.

The port had originally approved plans to install only a seasonal system that would be shut off during the winter, but rethought those plans in response to appeals from a group of boathouse owners at the September and October meetings. While some boathouses serve only as garages for boats, many others have living space that draws tenants to the marina year-around. Some boathouse owners with living spaces led the charge to see a year-round system installed.

“After the October meeting, we sent out a survey and took the results of that survey, with the public comment from the September and October meetings and the port commission discussed it a little bit,” Norton said.

Survey respondents preferred a less-expensive manual drip system, which would keep the system dripping during cold weather to keep the pipes from freezing. It was one of three options submitted by Devco Mechanical, the only respondent to the request for proposals, which also included the seasonal system at a lower cost of $59,900, and $68,000 manual drip. For the option chosen, the cost is estimated at $104,306.

“We did have the option of going back at a later date to put in recirculating pumps,” Norton said, “but at that point we would have incurred additional costs. It just made more sense to go ahead now and take care of it and have it fixed permanently.

“Now, if there’s a leak or an issue, it’s right here on the dock and very visible. And if people are putting in a system 20 years down the road, whoever is here won’t be faced with the issues we are faced with. We’re trying to make a system that will be good for years to come.”

The port will also incur some costs in getting ready for the system installation, which haven’t all been identified yet. Boathouse owners will also need to get their possessions off the dock to clear a path.

Money for the project will include $10,000 from capital improvements, another $50,000 from reserves and $44,000 divided among tenants in a one-time assessment to boathouse owners who are connected to both sewer and water.

“[The port] decided it would be better to have a system that wasn’t just running water into the river,” Norton said.

The vote was 4-1 with Mike Courtney supporting the drip recommendation.

“We hope within the month that the project can get started,” Norton said. “He’s going to have to work around weather and holidays.

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