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Town getting power ‘insurance’

6:52 am November 5th, 2012

A federal-funded project could help keep the lights on for Eatonville residents, businesses and schools during storms this winter and any other time nature or man might disrupt the power flow.

The Town Council last Friday gave a contract to a private company to install an underground electrical feeder line beside State Route 161 on the outskirts of town. Power for the municipal utility’s electricity customers would go through the new line if trees fall and take down overhead wires that are a major link in the electrical system.

Magnum Power, based in La Center, was awarded the contract during a specially scheduled council meeting at Town Hall. The earlier-than-usual council session allows equipment and materials for the project to be arranged sooner and finish the work sooner.

Under a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant to pay for installation of the underground line, the work must be finished by Dec. 31, town officials said.

Magnum  Power’s bid of $142,900 was the only one received for the project.

Anther $175,000 in materials and equipment will be supplied by the town.

Eatonvlle has about 1,100 electricity customers.Town administrator Doug Beagle said the new line won’t make the power system foolproof, but it does eliminate some scenarios for how electricity could be knocked out

The FEMA grant is administered by the Washington Department of Military.

At the same council meeting held at Town Hall, an agreement was approved to pay Northwest Concrete Waterproofing $4,400 to waterproof a building that’s part of the town’s water plant.

Without taking steps to make a chamber in the building more watertight, groundwater could seep in and taint drinking water supplies, officials said.

The improvements were requested by the state Department of Ecology after a review of the water plant facilities.

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