Public Works Update – 11/22

  • Utilities
    – On Monday November 14th, we had a major community well pump failure at Two Rivers which effected a dozen residential homes and businesses. An emergency plan to supply drinking water to the residents were deployed immediately, while we worked on solutions to rectify the situation. Due to the tireless efforts of Reggie Peone (Utilities Manager), Lance Wynn (Community Water Operator) and some technical assistance from the IHS, we managed to get a spare 20-years-old well pump working as a temporary solution, and the Two Rivers community water system was restored by Saturday November 19th. This week, Fogle Pump & Supply Inc will be installing a new replacement water pump for Two Rivers.
    – This month the Utilities crew has responded and fixed a number of community water and sewer problems. It is one of our goals to serve the community in a timely and professional manner.
    – On Monday November 28th, our Westend garbage pickup route truck driver Jimbo Seyler was unfortunately injured on the job. We have backup drivers in place; therefore, the disruption with our garbage pickup services should be kept to a minimum.
    – This month the Utilities crew is also part of the Tribe’s snow removal/plowing operation due to the winter storms which we are experiencing.
    – This month Great Floors Inc began installation on new wooden floors for the Forestry’s log cabin building.
    – Facilities is also finalizing the contract towards purchasing and installing new kitchen equipment for the Long House
    – The Facilities crew continue to winterize tribal buildings and conduct snow removal operations for parking lots when required.
    – Continue installations for new telecom customers.
    – Infill tower projects are in full swing. Our first infill tower will be installed in the New House Lane area within the next two months. When completed, the internet speed for homes in and around the New House Lane area will be significantly improved.
    – This month the Telecom team had a number of internal meetings to develop new operating procedures to streamline their customer service and response time.
    – Telecom is also working with NTIA and WSBO on the two broadband grants in an effort to development a comprehensive broadband deployment plan for the reservation and our Tribal properties at Chewelah.
    – Working on a number of cultural projects across Washington State.
  • ARPA projects
    1) Wellpinit Lagoon Rehab & Drain Field – We have made progress on the BPA land swap. The land survey has been completed and currently the BIA is starting their easement appraisal process for the project. Right-of-way application for the project will also be submitted shortly.
    2) Asset GIS Mapping for water and sewer lines –The contractor is in the process of compiling all the collected data in order to create a new GIS database with reservation wide water and sewer lines. We are estimating that the final product will be delivered to us by December 15th.
    3) We have developed a new individual water/waste water projects using ARPA funds for reservation households that have been denied IHS funding. This policy is currently being reviewed by Council for pending approval before going into effect.
    4) Boardman Water Tower Replacement – We are waiting for the finalized design for the new water tower.
    – We met and presented to Senator Maria Cantwell as part of the local broadband action team. We briefed Senator Cantwell on our current progress, needs, and challenges to bring broadband to the reservation. It was a good and productive meeting with many regional organizations sharing the same struggle as the Spokane Tribe to Senator Cantwell. Senator Cantwell promised greater federal help and funding, and will share the information we presented to her with her Washington DC colleagues.
    – Attended the 2022 National Tribal Leaders Climate Change Summit at the Northern Quest Resort. It is our objective as a department to look for sustainable, green, and renewable practices for the Tribe’s long-term utilities operational needs for water, sewer, and solid waste management.
    – The department is currently looking for funding opportunities through the IHS to fund a solid waste/transfer station plan.
    – Through Avista Corp funding, we have recently hired a company to conduct an energy audit for the Tribal Admin building. The result of this audit will help us develop practices which can manage our energy consumption more efficiently, and can potential save the Tribe’s money on heating and cooling bill.