Industry touts ability of evaporators docked at Port of Wilma to create jobs, conserve resources.
Two megaloads sitting at the Port of Wilma are creating work for Americans and are destined to help an oil company conserve water.
The evaporators were manufactured by Ellett Industries near Vancouver, Canada, which purchased more than $2.5 million in American materials for the project, said Bob Gill, vice president of sales for the company.
American tug boat companies handled the shipments after they entered U.S. waters just south of Vancouver, and the equipment was barged up the Columbia and Snake rivers, Gill said.
The insulation for one of the evaporators is being installed at the Port of Wilma, Gill said, a task that will employ about ten people for two to three weeks.
Ground transportation for the evaporators from the Port of Wilma through Idaho on U.S. Highway 12 to the Canadian border is also being taken care of by a U.S. company, Omega Morgan.
The evaporators will go through Washington, Idaho, and Montana, on their way to the Canadian oil sands in Alberta. After they arrive at their destination, Gill said they will help the Athabasca Oil Company recycle steam used to soften tar sands in the ground and reclaim water for other purposes.
The 126-foot-long, 309,000-pound evaporators are going through the United States because they’re too large to be moved on British Columbia roads.
“To get to Alberta, you have to go over mountains,” Gill said.
When the megaloads might leave the Port of Wilma is not clear. The shipments need U.S. Forest Service approval to travel through the Wild and Scenic River corridor on U.S. Highway 12, between Kooskia and the Montana border.
The agency is in the midst of establishing a protocol for megaloads and has indicated it will consult the Nez Perce Tribe at a time that has not yet been set.
The Idaho Transportation Department sent the Forest Service a four-page letter on Thursday outlining the process it uses to issue permits and explaining how the megaloads will move once they’re on the road.
“We believe these actions should address your concerns,” according to the letter.
The transportation department hasn’t issued permits for the shipments. The agency’s counterparts in Washington and Montana have approved applications for the shipments and will issue permits when they are requested, according to representatives of those agencies.
A representative of Omega Morgan, the company contracted to haul the shipments, has previously stated that about ten megaloads will be shipped on U.S. Highway 12 from now through January.
(By Elaine Williams, The Lewiston Tribune)