Buckley studying water

Buckley City Council members voted Sept. 14 to hire the engineering firm Gray and Osborne to evaluate alternatives to its current water supply.

The vote was spurred by reduced and limited capacity in two wells and the recent damage and repair to the city’s raw water transmission main.

Those limitations, coupled “with revisions to water rights through settlements with the state Department of Ecology and Cascade Water Alliance, have changed the city’s long-term water supply outlook,” read a letter from Michael Johnson of Gray and Osborne, attached with the bill.

The evaluation will cost $9,900 and fund compilation of a report that summarizes alternatives. Alternatives will be described in terms of cost, as well as noncost factors like reliability.

Potential alternatives listed include replacing the water transmission main, expansion of the slow sand water treatment plant to treat additional water from South Prairie Creek, continued use or redevelopment of existing wells, development of the Trail Well source, development of additional groundwater or surface water sources, and purchase of water directly from Tacoma Water or through the Cascade Water Alliance.

The report will not automatically become an amendment to change the city’s water policy, but will rather be used as the council’s tool for considering future amendments.

That future may be soon. For example, purchasing water from Cascade may need to be done quickly to ensure a place in the alliance, City Administrator Dave Schmidt said.

“If we lost (wells) four and five completely, we would have to have an immediate emergency moratorium on development,” he said. “We would have no development and no growth.”

In other action Sept. 14, the council:

• recognized work to the Buckley Museum and City Hall buildings taken on and completed by volunteers from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Sept. 11. The volunteers laid concrete for the museum, placed a new roof on a gazebo outside the museum building and painted the ramp to the back of City Hall.

• heard a summary report on the Buckley Country Market from councilwoman Jan Twardoski. The 2010 market incurred some additional health department fees to sell “potentially hazardous” foodstuffs such as cheese and fruit, and future markets will likely have to pay the same fees, she said. In addition, the market is looking for fruit and vegetable vendors for the future.

• listened to Chief Alan Predmore’s update on the new Fire Department project. Due to cost considerations, the building will no longer be built with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification in mind, he said. Landscape design is still undecided, but Predmore suggested that task could be accomplished in a community project.

• approved a preliminary funding estimate for the state Route 410, state Route 165, Ryan Road and 112th Street East realignment project.

• approved an engineering services proposal to install a pressure relief valve facility in Page Creek to reduce water overflow. The installation could potentially run afoul of a pending court case regarding alleged Clean Water Act violations by the city, if said case is not found in the city’s favor, Schmidt said.

• approved replacement of a trash rack that was damaged during FEMA’s cleanup of debris from the water transmission main access road.

• approved a third party agreement between the state Department of Transportation and Leon’s Deli, related to the new two-way left turn lane on state Route 410. The city is not involved in the project and the bill was introduced to ensure the city was named and the work conducted would be completed as designed and approved.

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