Every day employees for the Port of Coupeville have to check the compressor on the wharf’s fire suppression system.
A series of pipes within the system in the historic structure have leaks that have already been previously patched.
If pressure isn’t maintained within the system, it will trigger alarms and sprinklers.
And if the wharf’s fire suppression system goes out, the wharf would be shut down.
It’s an ongoing issue port commissioners have been dealing with for several years.
Commissioners last week were discussing the possibility of applying for .09 rural economic development funds from Island County to replace the system, an expense of upwards of $100,000-$200,000 depending on the type of system.
The problem is, said Damon Stadler, facilities manager for the port, a new system cannot be installed until the wharf’s substructure is fixed and the foundation is level.
“The pipes have to be level,” he said.
The cost of fixing the wharf’s pilings is estimated to cost about $500,000 and could take anywhere from two to five years.
A project to fix just the leaking pipes of the existing system would cost an estimated $8,000-$10,000.
Commissioners agreed the temporary fix would be the best option until the piling project is handled.
Commissioner John Mishasek will be working at applying for grant funding for the project.
And while .09 funds are generally granted for projects that aid economic development, commissioner said they hope the Council of Governments, which allocates the funds, will see that the repair project is vital to the port’s economic structure and the businesses that operate out of the wharf.