City ice machine still down due to electrical problem

Jul 14, 2017

Port Director Jean Barrett hopes the machine will be fixed in time for silver season.

The electrical board that controls the ice machine.
Credit Allison Mollenkamp

The ice machine at the harbor has been broken for all of salmon season this year, frustrating locals who depend on the machine to ice their fish.

Jean Barrett is the Port Director for the City of Dillingham. He says the problem is electrical.

“The break between the halibut fishermen and the salmon season starting up, some connectors or connections got hot and fried some, some of the controls. We thought we had it figured out. We thought we had the right control swapped out and it turns out it’s not.”

Barrett says they’ve sent the electrical schematics for the ice machine to a local electrician and hope time will allow him to work on fixing the machine next week. That may be too late for the end of the sockeye run. However, Barrett says the machine is used most during halibut and silver season. He estimates during halibut season this year the city sold 25 to 30 tons of ice. Barrett hopes to have the machine fixed in time for silver season, worrying that without city ice some fishermen will be in trouble.

“It’s gonna cause them to have to find another market. There’s a couple of markets that are gonna work. Last year we had people fishing until September. And the ice barges by then pulled out of the water. They’re done. You know, the local canneries are done for the year and have shut down their ice machines. So we’re kind of the last, the last of the ice suppliers for the summers.”

The ice machine was originally purchased through the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation and the city paid $20,000 for the electrical hookup.

Contact the author at allison@kdlg.org or (907) 842-5281.