City awarded 2 more grants for water reuse project
With its recent securing of two large grants, the City of Quincy continues to make progress on attaining the funding needed to pay for its $24 million water reuse utility project.
The city has secured about two-thirds of that funding needed, Mayor Jim Hemberry said.
“The nice thing is everything we have done to date, we haven’t had to borrow any money,” Hemberry said.
Earlier this month, the city was granted a $1.5 million state capital budget local community grant. The grant proposal was sponsored by Sen. Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake, and approved by Gov. Jay Inslee with the passage of the state budget earlier this month.
The city in May also received a $1 million federal WaterSMART grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior.
So that’s $2.5 million of new monies that will join some $17 million that’s already been secured in state, federal, city and private monies.
Since 2007, the city has been making progress on a massive project that integrates its industrial and municipal wastewater treatment systems. The project started because the city was facing a deadline. A federal deadline required the city to eliminate its industrial discharge from a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation drainage ditch by September 2015. Reclamation earlier this year extended that deadline to September 2017.
While the city will continue to seek grant monies, it is looking at borrowing the remainder of the cost of the project to meet that deadline, said Tim Snead, city administrator.
The city is designing a “one-water” system that addresses water supply and water quality issues. The Quincy Water Reuse Utility project is a four-phased, multiple-year water infrastructure project that’s expected to be completed by 2018.
“This is of particular importance when you consider that Quincy is located in a high plains desert with a declining groundwater table, our only source of potable water,” Snead said in a recent press release.
To date, the city has completed Phase 1 (connecting water system users on the west side of the city) and part of Phase 2 (the installation of associated piping and appurtenances).
The city also has designed and is constructing Phase 3 (the conversion and modification of the city’s wastewater treatment facilities to add sand filtration, water softening, conveyance pipelines and passive reverse osmosis treatment).
Phase 4 is the construction of a pumping station and discharge pipeline to convey industrial reuse water and reclaimed water for irrigation and groundwater recharge.
The water reuse utility project will eliminate future city industrial discharge into reclamation’s wasteway, resulting in the addition of 3,147 acre-feet of alternative water supply annually, according to information from the city.
And the city will gain the ability to discharge up to 6 million gallons a day of industrial effluent, providing it with the capacity to add additional food processors.
The reuse water also will be blended with municipal treated effluent to reduce the total dissolved solids (TDS) entering groundwater at the municipal facility.
“While TDS levels are not currently regulated, we saw this as an opportunity to be proactive and address the problem now,” Snead said.
This year, the city also will seek state funding for an Aquifer Storage and Recovery pilot project to determine an appropriate location and assess potential impacts to groundwater resources. The ultimate goal of the ASR project is to be able to store the water in the aquifer and recover it when needed.
The pilot project comes at a time when neighboring states such as California, and even areas such as Yakima, are experiencing severe drought conditions. More cities across the West are going to be forced to look at such projects down the road, Hemberry said.
But Quincy will be ahead of the game.
“There are important environmental benefits to ASR projects – they typically have a small footprint, and result in less adverse impacts to both land and water ecosystems,” he said.
— By Jill FitzSimmons, email@example.com