Transportation of Bulk Water
Sitka is served by two tug and barge lines that transport goods to and from Sitka. In addition, other marine transportation lines based in Alaska, Prince Rupert, BC Canada, and Seattle, Washington frequent Alaska waters with marine transportation equipment. Silver Bay is deep enough to accommodate the draft of a barge, bulk-carrier ship or tanker ship.
Bottled water shipments to China and other Pacific Rim nations have been expedited by the new Prince Rupert container port.
At the moment, there is no existing mooring infrastructure suitable for holding a ship for the purpose of loading water. However, the Gary Paxton Industrial Park Board of Directors and the City of Sitka is actively planning new deep-water dock to be open in 2017.
Access to the Blue Lake aqueduct is less than 2,000 feet from the shore-side loading site and a large diameter water line between the aqueduct and the shore is now complete and ready to load water.
Bulk Water Pipeline
The City and Borough of Sitka has completed the construction of a high volume, large diameter water line that is specifically designed to serve bulk water exports. The pipeline delivers untreated fresh water to the ocean shoreline at Gary Paxton Industrial Park.
The pipeline is approximately 1,580 lineal feet of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe with a wall thickness rated for 100 PSI pressure. The bulk water line starts at the outfall from the hydro-electric turbines, so filling a tanker will not compete with hydro-electric demands for the same water. The portion of the bulk water pipeline from the hydro-electric turbines to the meter vault and T that splits to serve the salmon hatchery is 1,580 linear feet with an outer diameter of 42". The remaining portion of the pipeline has an outer diameter of 36" and is 1,020 linear feet to the shore side cap.
The pipeline has been constructed to drinking water standards, to make it available to act as an alternate water transmission main for the community of Sitka in case of failure of the Blue Lake water treatment plant. The line also supplies water to the NSRAA hatchery located within the Industrial Park.