Public Works Update – 1/31/23

Public Works Department – January, 2023 Monthly Update                                                        1/31/2023

Utilities & Solid Waste Program

  • The utility crew meeting is held every Monday morning to plan for the week and schedule projects.
  • The utility crew assisted with 4 funerals in December and January. These duties include locating the gravesite with the family, clearing out the area for the services, digging the grave and preparing the site for the services. A minimum of 6 hours is necessary for every funeral service.
  • The utility crew has done our part in the snow removal plan each time it has snowed. We maintain the streets and parking areas within the city limits of Wellpinit and respond to emergency plowing needs when called upon.
  • The utility crew has responded to 20 emergency calls regarding frozen waterlines, busted or leaking pipes and pump houses since December 1st. Each of them has been repaired to the best of our program’s abilities.
  • The utility program manager is active in many future and on-going projects on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Meeting topics include, Wellpinit Lagoon Rehab and new drain field, new Martha Boardman water tank project, EPA deficiency report reconciliation, WSDH WD-1 program acceptance and future testing, EDA meeting on Chewelah development and waste water.
  • The Lead Utility Crew boss position has been advertised and will close on Friday, 27th, 2023.

Solid waste

  • All curbside garbage services were covered. Any garbage cans missed were individually collected by the utilities crew.
  • The solid waste department hired an emergency worker to drive the garbage truck and each week he is becoming more proficient with his duties.
  • One of the garbage trucks is being repaired by Western States in Spokane.


  • The community water monitoring continued as usual with no problems.
  • Water, solid waste and utilities program crew members worked together to install a community water line to a homesite along with install the septic tank.
  • The Utilities Program hired a Tribal Water Operator to take individual water samples throughout the reservation and community water systems. This also addresses some major issues outlined in the E.P.A.s deficiency report.


  • New customer installations continue at the rate of about 3 households per week throughout January. Many of these customers reside in the New House Lane area and are doing so in anticipation of the upcoming infill tower project.
  • New filing, billing, and tracking systems are now in place for the customers. This will make our operation more seamless.
  • A higher percentage of our customers are now paying their monthly bills on time so that their internet services wouldn’t get shutoff due to the lack of timely payment.
  • Telecom staff are doing online training to get familiar with the upcoming reservation-wide fiber buildout project.
  • The program continues to be working with NTIA and WSOB to plan for the grant funded fiber buildout project.



The facilities program completed 66 Work Orders this reporting period.  Other deliverables as follows:

  • Forestry Floor Replacement contract is substantially complete as of January 11, 2023. There are a few items on the punch list to be completed.
  • The department had two equipment purchases that were delivered on January 12 and 13, 2023. This was for a new tractor and UTV.
  • Inspect the Pow-Wow Pavilion snow damage with the insurance adjuster
  • The department purchased four new two-way radios for the Maintenance program on January 27, 2023.
  • Zerorez completed the carpet cleaning at the Indiana building in Spokane, WA. on January 17, 2023.
  • Completed the installation of an On-Demand water heater at the Wellpinit Post Office on January 19, 2023.
  • Repair the Drug Testing Room toilet leak at HHS on January 27, 2023.
  • Emergency drain unclog at the Senior Center with floor drains and floor sinks.


  • The Department of Public Works & Utilities has been active in seeking out different grants to fund many of our projects. We have submitted two grants in January; one for building the future Wellpinit solid waste transfer station in the amount of $2,000,000 and a $772,000 grant towards the implementations of telelearning and telemedicine technologies for tribal facilities.
  • The Department is also aggressively executing our ARPA projects. In January, we have completed our Utilities GIS Asset Mapping Project that was funded by ARPA.  This project was completed significantly under budget and the leftover funds can now be relocated to other underfunded ARPA projects.  Other ARPA projects such as the Wellpinit lagoon rehab and drain field are about to start the RFP process now that the A&Es have been completed.  The Boardman Water Tower Replacement project is currently in the RFP process.
  • We have just completed a level two energy audit for the Tribal Admin Building. This audit recommended significant repair, replacement, and upgrades for the Admin Building which when executed can bring a total energy saving of about $41,000 a year.  The Public Works Department will be applying for a grant in March which can fund the repairs and upgrades.
  • Public Works is also working and coordinating with other tribal departments, programs and outside organizations on energy resiliency projects. For example, the Wellpinit microgrid project.


  • Two grants submitted this month (totaled $2,772,000.00).
  • All Public Works ARPA projects are on schedule according to project timelines.
  • Our programs such as Utilities, Telecom, and Facilities have developed more seamless operations which are serving the communities better.