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Cheney proceeds with Well 3 design

City uses state capital budget money to begin work, seeks additional funding


April 19, 2018

The city of Cheney is proceeding with work on the estimated $1.8 million redevelopment of its domestic water well No. 3, despite not having all of the funding needed to pay for the work.

At their April 10 meeting, the City Council approved a $189,910 contract with Parametrix, Inc. for design work on the well, with actual redevelopment working taking place in two phases through 2019. The city hopes the project will restore production at the well, which averaged from 500-600 gallons per minute early in its use, but subsequently dropped to zero

Public Works Director Todd Ableman said the department received six applications for the work. Parametrix has done work for the city before, and proposed completing well drilling and testing this year and construction of a booster pump to be completed in 2019.

Ableman said proceeding with design is essential if the city is to apply for funding from an $8 million construction-only funding release in October from the state Department of Health.

The city originally applied for the entire $1.8 million amount from the department’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. The state made $20 million available, but according to information from the department, only awarded five projects valued at just over $12 million.

Cheney’s Well 3 Project scored ninth on the overall list behind requests from the cities of Othello, College Place and Prosser that totaled over $6.74 million. Overall, just over $20.69 million in project requests to the department were unfunded.

“Our score was not great due to the fact that water quality issues or water violations get scored higher, and we do not have any water quality issues/violations,” Ableman wrote in an email.

Sixth District state representatives Jeff Holy and Mike Volz, along with state Sen. Mike Baumgartner were able to get $750,000 in funding for the well put into the state’s capital budget passed earlier this spring. As another source of funding, the council approved the city’s request to apply for $1 million from the state Public Work Board’s Emergency Construction Loan Program.

The board — also referred to as the Public Works Trust Fund (PWTF) — has made $5 million available for projects “that repair, replace and/or reconstruct a facility that will restore essential services.” Ableman said program funding requests are “open until all funds are gone.”

The city also implemented a water rate increase as part of the 2018 budget to help provide some funding for projects like well No. 3, which is located on the west side of Erie Street between Cedar and Oakland streets.

“Hopefully we’ll do better applying for the emergency construction loan through PWTF, and if not, DWSF (Drinking Water State Revolving Fund) will have a construction loan call sometime in October/November,” Ableman wrote.

In a final water related issue at the April 10 meeting, the council approved an $18,637 change order to furnish 525 feet of new submersible electric pump cable on well No. 6. The change order is part of rehabilitation work being done on the well, located just off State Route 904 west of Cheney, in order to restore its pumping capacity. In response to a question from Councilman Dan Hilton, Ableman said the well is currently pumping around 400 gpm, but has previously been in the 500-600 gpm range.

“We’re hoping to get that back,” Ableman told the council.

John McCallum can be reached at


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