Small Town News


Cheney awarded water grant

Cheney Free Press of Cheney, Washington

- Advertisement -

Funding pays for report on implementing a reclaimed water system for irrigation only

The city of Cheney is taking preliminary steps to building a reclaimed water system for irrigation only, thanks to funding from the state Department of Ecology.

The city has received $112,000 in what Public Works Director Todd Ableman referred to as a "50 percent principle reduction" payment. That means half, $56,000, takes the form of a grant while the other half is a loan to the city at 1 percent interest.

Ableman said the city has between 5 and 20 years to repay the loan, but expects they will take the quicker route to repayment.

The money will fund creation of an extremely detailed reclaimed water engineering report, to be prepared by Esvelt Environmental Engineering. Ableman said the report will be similar to what is done to construct a water system, and will build on a 2007 water reuse analysis done on the city's wastewater treatment plant that indicated reclaimed water could be used for irrigation without degrading the city's wetlands.

"We found that we could use up to 1 million gallons," Ableman said.

According to the analysis, the city's plant discharges through the created wetlands into Minnie Creek, which feeds Latah Creek and then the Spokane River. The wetlands "serve to polish the effluent to near Class A surface water quality."

The analysis also indicated that it would be possible to use some of that water for irrigation purposes only as long as certain design criteria was met. Improvements to the plant to allow for distribution of reclaimed water include installation of effluent filter and ultraviolet light disinfection systems, converting an existing lagoon to a storage pond, construction of several pump stations and system piping and monitoring instrumentation.

Ableman said Esvelt's report will break this process out into much more detail, with exact figures and specifications along with a cost estimate. In 2007 that was preliminarily tagged at about $10 million, but with more options and better technology, it comes in at an estimated $6-7 million.

One of the changes since 2007 is the length of the system, which would now run through the center of the city and up to the pool at Hagelin Park instead of down to Salnave Park. That would allow the city to then run irrigation-only piping — known as purple pipe — along North Sixth Street that would serve the Cheney School District fields and two city parks.

"You've got a whole green belt heading north from the pool," Ableman said.

The report, which the city hopes to have completed by the end of August, will enable Cheney to apply for federal and state grant funding needed to build the system. A new funding cycle is scheduled to begin in October.

The system would also provide Eastern Washington University ability to tap into reclaimed water for their irrigation use, thus reducing demands on both the university's and the city's potable water well system.

Built in 1994, the city's treatment plant already has a process to reclaim biosolids for reuse as fertilizer. A reuse water system would fulfill its intended purpose of building being a true, reclamation plant.

"The potential is there," Ableman said. "We have the reuse system. We have the storage capacity. Since '94, the vision has been in place. We've just been short of the funding."

John McCallum can be reached at

"We have the reuse system. We have the storage capacity. Since '94, the vision has been in place. We've just been short of the funding."

_Public Works Director Todd Ableman

Copyright 2016 Cheney Free Press, Cheney, Washington. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: July 14, 2016

More from Cheney Free Press