DREDGING— The Snake River dredging project at the mouth to expand moorage capacity for smaller craft has begun this week.

Port panel plans waste dumping for dollars

Federal and state grant money has dwindled, but designs for Port of Nome improvements continue. When money comes, port administrators want to be ready.

The planning process and progress at the regular Port Commission meeting on March 23 concerned this summer’s work, further development in advance of a deep-draft port and efforts to expand services and therefore revenues.

A work session prior to the meeting featured a discussion among several municipal service departments on exploring the feasibility of a facility for gray water (wash water from showers, food, dishware and bathing) and black water (sewage etc.) disposal for vessels to offload waste into Nome’s currently operating treatment plant, sewage lagoon, or a new facility. These are plans going down the road.

The U.S. Coast Guard has shown an interest in dumping waste from their ships if the City were to provide the service, according to Joy Baker, port director. Baker provided commissioners a rundown list of visiting vessels in the 200- and 300-foot length and their ship waste estimates for a port waste reception facility: NOAA Rainier, length and draft 231 ft-17 ft.; NOAA Fairweather, 231 ft. 16 ft; NOAA Oscar Dyson, 209 ft.-20 ft.; USCG Buoy Tender, 225 ft.-13 ft; Silver Discoverer, 338 ft., - 14 ft. All except the Silver Discoverer would have combined black water and grey water discharge in the 2,000 to 4,400 gallon range. However, black water and gray water are generally kept separate to decrease the amount of heavily polluted water and to simplify the treatment for grey water. The larger Silver Discoverer has a hold capacity of 30,000 gallons for black water and 22,000 gallons capacity for gray water. 

Plans do not immediately include bilge water reception, which requires expensive water-from-oil-separation and filtering to the point of not causing a sheen if it is released within 12 miles from shore. Vessels may offload oily discharges beyond 12 miles from shore while underway if oil content without being diluted is less than 100 parts per million. Strict disposal record keeping must occur. The NOAA Fairweather and NOAA Rainier have a need to get rid of around 5,000 gallons of bilge water; the NOAA Oscar Dyson has a smaller need to offload around 1,400 gallons in port. Estimates are not readily available for the USCG Buoy Tender or the Silver Discoverer. 
Commissioners agreed that the waste reception program should be kept on the planning table to take up in several years, with an intent to begin with evaluating costs for buried pipeline and surface infrastructure to receive ship sewage and gray water.

Meanwhile, a $1.12 million summer project to expand moorage and further develop port uplands has gotten underway already. Q Trucking, which won the contract, has started the Snake River Dredging Phase II project at the mouth to expand moorage capacity for smaller craft. The plans call for dredging to minus 8 feet mean low low water along the west bank of the Snake. The project will entail depositing the dredged soil on the Thornbush Site for a dewatering period leading to an expanded port pad. The money for the project, $1,124,110.42,  combines the remaining balance of an FY 2013 General Obligation Bond grant and an FY 2014 state grant.

Additionally, Knik Construction, bid winner for the Cape Nome Repair project, is standing by for spring breakup to begin work on storm repair. The company will begin with large stone placement and plans to finish this phase of the project in October.

Also in 2017 summer plans is completion of dead man mechanism to serve as an anchoring point for equipment used for hauling out vessels.

The Nome Nugget

PO Box 610
Nome, Alaska 99762

Phone: (907) 443-5235
Fax: (907) 443-5112


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