State legislature budgets $2 million for Quincy well project
Quincy’s innovative water reuse plans got a boost in the recent state legislative session.
After legislators passed budgets and related funding bills, the 2019-2021 Capital Budget for the state includes $2 million in the Department of Ecology’s Office of Columbia River (OCR) Water Supply Development Program for Quincy’s Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) project.
In a press release from the city, City Administrator Tim Snead said, “With this level of OCR program funding, the ASR project will remain on schedule to complete the groundwater testing and characterization work this year to determine viability for storage and recovery of the City’s highly treated water supply.
“The City wants to first and foremost acknowledge the support and diligence of Sen. Warnick and Rep. Ybarra in helping us achieve our number one legislative priority. They listened and recognized the City’s unique water utility challenges and timing considerations as we work to construct and implement the Quincy 1 Water.”
The city began drilling the well in mid-December and expects groundwater testing to be completed this fall.
The ASR project is a component of the Quincy 1 Water Plan, or Q1W, which the city council adopted in 2016 as a comprehensive water resource management plan to guide the development of its water supply and wastewater utilities. The Q1W Plan integrates all four of the city’s water utilities – domestic sewer, industrial wastewater, potable supply and water reuse utility – to create one water system.
The Q1W Plan was developed primarily to eliminate all industrial wastewater treatment plant (food processing industry) discharge from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation wasteway DW 237. Per a 2017 negotiated license agreement, the City must construct certain components of the water reuse utility in a timely, coordinated manner in order to eliminate all industrial discharge by September 2022.
The city says in a press release that Q1W will create a highly sustainable water management strategy by treating and reusing the city’s industrial and municipal wastewater to supplement and diversify the city’s water supply, improve its efficiency, and provide flexibility during water-short periods.
“Storing the city’s highly treated wastewater in a deep ground zone during winter months in order to recover that same water in the summer is feasible, and, given the increasing value of water, I think it’s a smart investment in our community,” Jim Hemberry said in a press release.
Hemberry, the previous mayor, served as legislative liaison representing the city in meetings in Olympia this year.
Sen. Warnick, R-Moses Lake, who is one of the Senate’s four capital budget negotiators, and Rep. Ybarra, R-Quincy, “were both very instrumental,” according to the city’s contract lobbyist Scott Cave, who coordinated with Hemberry and Columbia Basin stakeholders to advocate for full funding of OCR’s Water Supply Development Program, resulting in a coalition letter to capital budget leaders.
The coalition includes eight counties (Grant, Adams, Franklin, Lincoln, Stevens, Klickitat, Chelan and Walla Walla), four cities (Pasco, Richland, West Richland and Quincy), the Walla Walla County Conservation District and the Icicle & Peshastin Irrigation District.