The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Wolfgang Kurtz
LOG Editor 

Local processor season interrupted by flood

 

WOLFGANG KURTZ | THE SEWARD PHOENIX LOG

The utility pump house for the City of Seward water line to Resurrection Bay Seafoods was knocked out of commission by the recent flooding and barrage of rock and gravel from Lowell Creek. Repairs to the water pipe, structure and electrical are expected to be completed by next week.

One of the heretofore unheralded stories of Seward’s recent fall flooding is the loss to Resurrection Bay Seafoods (RBS) of their fresh water supply. A 6-inch line carrying the supply across the out-fall from Lowell Canyon was swept aside by the onslaught of water, rock and equipment that accompanied the drenching rains of September. The damaged portion of the water pipe ran pretty close to the waterfall on the west side of the Lowell Creek bridge. Even though the line is buried, it has been periodically unearthed or damaged by falling rock and heavy equipment. According to the Metco operator working at the scene this week, this is at least the third time over the years that he has been called out to deal with a line break in more or less the same location.

The gravel and rock from the flooding that swept across nearby parking lots, up against the south wall and into through the windows at the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery, also overcame the city-owned pump house for the water supply. The northerly wall of the structure lost it’s footer and was stove in along the bottom, according to a worker from Harmon Construction. The repairs to the wall, siding, and electrical are expected to be completed next week.

The time taken to replace the line has been taken up primarily by the Anchorage based firm re-engineering the replacement line, said Tom Berry, plant manager for RBS. The formerly buried water line will be now be hung under the outside lip of the main beam supporting the bridge’s east half. The new 8-inch pipe is insulated as it will be exposed along the bridge. The hangers for the new 8-inch portion of the line are currently being fabricated and the refurbished line is expected to be back in service next week.

Berry said that water was the only city utility to their facility that was interrupted, however the loss of the service shut them down for the season. Fresh water is required for their fish processing line and also provides a supply for a fire main. “Right now the season is over regardless,” he said, “So it’s done. But without water we don’t work. Fifty-one days in the season we lost.” Up until the loss of fresh water RBS was processing halibut although costs have been pretty volatile. Prices at the dock from the fishing fleets have been trending high and the bottom-fish has had a harder time finding a market.

The halibut and black cod quotas will be set in January, which will give processors a better idea of what prices will look like in the upcoming year. Seward is Alaska’s number one landing destination for black cod, and is in the top five for halibut processing.

 

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