Downtown Everett streets were plowed early in the morning on Feb. 9. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

Downtown Everett streets were plowed early in the morning on Feb. 9. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

Costs pile up as slush disappears in Snohomish County

Crews worked extra hours to clear the roads as the heavy, wet snow caused damage to buildings.

EVERETT — The last icy remnants are almost gone after the series of storms that hit a couple of weeks ago, but costs from the unusual weather are piling up.

When the snow began in early February, many jurisdictions had crews working around-the-clock to keep roads clear, accruing thousands of hours of overtime along with equipment expenses. Damage to buildings, including schools and a water filtration plant, also could prove costly.

“I’ve been in this business for 30 years — this was the worst series of winter storms I’ve experienced,” said Jesse Perrault, Marysville’s streets supervisor.

The city used all of its own salt and had to get more from Arlington and the state Department of Transportation, which at one point also ran out, according to Perrault.

“It was an unusual situation,” he said.

Marysville spent nearly $16,000 on materials, and employees racked up almost 800 hours of overtime.

Crews also worked extra in the Marysville School District.

They fixed burst pipes, but that’s expected in winter. Marysville Pilchuck High School had more extensive damage, though. Everything was repaired before students and staff returned, said Brandon Klepper, the district’s maintenance manager.

“The school was closed because of the snow, so it was convenient for maintenance guys to come in,” he said. “Realistically, the way it worked out without school and having it deteriorate was perfect timing.”

He believes the damage would have happened no matter how much snow fell.

The school was built in the early 1970s. It’s called a California-style campus because nearly every door leads outside.

Ice clogged the gutters, and condensation formed on pipes inside the overhang. Moisture caused the fragile drywall to break in places.

“There were probably about a dozen areas that had problems,” Klepper said.

It’s not clear yet how much overtime there was because timecards come in at the end of the month, said Mike Sullivan, the district’s executive director of finance and operations.

In Snohomish County, road maintenance workers, charged with jobs such as operating snow plows and clearing debris, put in nearly 6,000 hours of overtime for an estimated cost of $275,000, according to Matt Phelps, a spokesperson for public works.

The field crew of 130 laid down about 6,000 tons of sand and salt from Feb. 3-17. During that two-week period, about 4,200 gallons of de-icer were also used.

To prepare for additional winter weather, the county has already ordered 400 tons of salt and plans to purchase more to replenish supplies.

“We feel confident we are prepared to reasonably respond to a seven-day snow and ice fight,” Phelps said.

To keep the city of Everett running, fire and transit crews, along with public works employees, all put in overtime. In total, roughly 2,600 extra hours were accrued due to the snow and ice for a cost of about $135,000.

Farther south, in Lynnwood, staff worked about 700 more hours than usual, which cost about $35,000. About 64 tons of salt were spread through the streets, said Julie Moore, city spokesperson.

“Running our trucks for 24 hours a day for two weeks straight was tough on our equipment. Our mechanics are working now on some repairs and maintenance, but we feel confident that we can respond to another snow event,” Moore said.

Lizz Giordano: 425-374-4165; egiordano@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @lizzgior.

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