George builds water line north, under Interstate 90
A landmark project in George has moved from the drawing board to pipe in the ground.
The new 16-inch water pipeline expands the city’s infrastructure in a dramatic way – crossing under Interstate 90 and Highway 281 – and will bring the city’s water north to supply current and future developments.
More than a mile of water main pipe being installed now begins at the city’s water system south of I-90 and extends north to Industrial Park 5, a Port of Quincy development that is also inside the George city limits. The pipeline is a project of the city, and the port has supported it as plans progressed.
The water main is a significant advancement in economic development for the area. There are two businesses so far in Industrial Park 5, Blueline Manufacturing and Ancient Lake Wine Co. The new water main is likely to spur more development within the park and could supply water to other properties in the area as well.
At 16 inches in diameter, the pipe can carry a lot of water.
George Mayor Gerene Nelson and City Council Member Terry Nelson visited the work site on Friday, Jan. 11, and remarked on the significance of the water line project, how much it means to George and development in the city.
“We’ve been waiting a long time” for this water project, Terry Nelson said. “We’ve got things going on, but this is big.” It is the kind of infrastructure that can make things happen, he said.
Gerene Nelson likewise stated that the pipeline “opens the door to growth.”
Water is critical in this region, and George is not close to consuming its supply, according to Terry Nelson.
“We have really good sources of water,” he said.
Contractors have been in the area during the past couple of weeks as work began. The general contractor is Tapani Inc., based in Battleground, Wash. Advanced Boring Specialists, of Vancouver, Wash., is on-site for drilling under I-90 and Highway 281.
Chuck Dompier, construction inspector for Gray & Osborne Inc., an engineering firm working for the city of George, described the work. First, a pilot hole is drilled, and then in stages a larger drill reams out the hole to reach the desired diameter. A slurry – it looks like muddy water – is pumped into the length of the boring to hold the shape of the hole until the pipe is installed.
Over by the city water tower, 45-foot lengths of bluish PVC pipe were being connected using a fusing machine. Underground Solutions Inc., the manufacturer of the pipe, had Brian Smith on-site to operate the fusion machine. He gets the pipes lined up and shaves the ends to get a perfect fit. Then the machine heats the ends and pushes them together with strong enough force that a ridge of PVC rises all the way around the seam. The result is a very strong connection.
Getting the pipeline past the obstacles of I-90 and Highway 281 is an impressive feat. Passing under I-90, the pipe is quite deep, reaching about 20 feet underground, said Larry Julius, Gray & Osborne’s project manager on the pipeline, and the bore hole extends far beyond the roadways.
“And it was because DOT would not let us cut into I-90,” Julius said with a chuckle.
The pipeline will total about 6,000 feet in length. It starts close to the George water tower near the intersection of South Frontage Road NW and North Washington Way; it crosses under the frontage road and runs northeast along it; crosses the canal and turns north; at a point that looks about 100 feet from the freeway, the pipeline route dives down, passes under the freeway, and emerges about 100 feet north; then it runs mostly north until it passes under Highway 281 also; from there the route continues north to Industrial Park 5, between 281 and Beverly Burke Road North.
With the drilling under I-90 done, workers on Jan. 11 installed the casing pipe from the north side of the freeway through to the south. The casing pipe is 20 inches in diameter. Inside the casing, the PVC pipe that will carry the water is 16 inches in diameter.
The project is estimated for completion at the end of February.
The 16-inch water carrying pipe is on the large side of the scale as city water lines go – by design. A common dimension is 12 inches in diameter for a main line, and 8 inches for residential areas, Julius said.
The 16-inch size “is for industrial areas, such as Industrial Park 5, where we have things like the wine company … and it’s sized for future growth on that side of the freeway,” Julius said.
There were two trains of thought going into choosing the pipe size, Julius said: growth and fire protection. Facilities the size of Ancient Lake Wine Co. – large operations – need a lot of water supply for fire protection.
“The 16-inch was the best for both criteria,” Julius said.
The Port of Quincy and the city of George have cooperated on the project.
“The port has contributed some funding for this,” Julius explained. The port was “one of the original instigators working with the city bringing in industry … but it is a pipeline that will be owned by the city for the city.
“And if there is more development … whether on port property or county or city property, I think the sky is the limit,” Julius said. “We are very excited for the city and the port and the potential for development, and we are very happy to be able to help out.”
By Dave Burgess, firstname.lastname@example.org