Hester picks up where he left off

At last night's Port of Sunnyside commissioners meeting, Executive Director in Training Jay Hester was asked about the transition he has been making in preparation for taking over as the permanent executive director.

Hester said, "It's almost as if I never left."

Engineer Bob Ferrell and Hester recently visited Kennewick to view firsthand a dredging project being conducted by Merrell Bros.

The idea, said Hester, was to see what possible options the port has when it seeks to clean sludge in the wastewater treatment plant's lagoons.

He said there was also a visit to Tree Top in Selah, where another method of cleaning lagoons is utilized.

"We're working on ideas," said Hester, stating the Port of Sunnyside's priority is to clean the lagoons at the wastewater facility while operations continue.

"An analysis of our product is going to be instrumental in the decision-making," said Hester.

He said he and Ferrell were able to learn about two different clean-up processes, discovering dredging is not the only method for sludge removal.

Commissioner Jeff Matson asked Hester if lagoon four would need all its liquid removed for the clean-up project.

Hester said the port is seeking to use a process that would utilize a barge. For that, Merrell Bros. would need to maintain a specific water level in the lagoon.

He said the company uses technology that enables its employees to gauge the depth it needs for dredging purposes.

This is important, according to Hester, because it gives an accurate measurement to ensure liners in the lagoon are not compromised.

"The technology is amazing," he told the commissioners.

Hester informed the commissioners the company has opportunities to tour projects currently being completed to witness for themselves the methods utilized for projects similar to the one the Port of Sunnyside has planned.


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