Thursday, July 25, 2024

New reservoir, pump come online

Citywide flush debuts Pateros water system upgrade

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PATEROS – Not many events debut with a gigantic flush, but that’s what went down, so to speak, in Pateros earlier this week when city officials turned on the town’s new water system.

Last Tuesday morning, Dec. 11, four days later than the original flush date of Dec. 7, City Administrator Jord Wilson and water department personnel closed the valve on the city’s old reservoir and opened the valve to the new 500,000-gallon storage tank adjacent to the cemetery. They flipped on the switch in the newly completed Well Three Pump Station at Pearl Street and Watson Draw Road and integrated the new delivery system to the existing one that serves the city’s residential and commercial users

The new pump increased the pressure in the water lines by about 20 pounds, not a huge amount according to Wilson who said the added pressure should not cause any surge in the system. It did, however, introduce a significant change in the flow dynamics.


“The old system pumped water from the wells to the reservoirs and back to the city,” said Wilson. “The new one will pump into the system at the well and push water on through to the new reservoir.”

Where the old system worked in one direction, the new system will work in both directions.

“We will be monitoring it closely and can switch it off if necessary,” said Wilson

City officials have taken every precaution to make the citywide flush as uneventful as possible in terms of disruptions or inconveniences.

“What we think will happen is that residents may find some sediments that will break loose when the new system comes on line,” said Wilson. “We encourage them to open up faucets to flush sediment in their supply line. We will open fire hydrants if necessary.”

The city was thoughtful to advise residents in their billing statements and on Facebook about the switchover. Okanogan County Emergency Management was enlisted to issue a residential alert to its subscribers the day before the flush and again at 9 a.m. the day of.

“We have set up crews to go to residences for those who may need help with plugged filters and drains,” said Wilson and speculated that the sediment removal could go on all week.

The new water system is the culmination of four years of infrastructure restoration and repair that began after the July 2014 Carlton Complex wildfire devastated parts of the city. Along the way the city has garnered numerous awards for meeting high standards for water quality and treatment.

The old reservoirs, now art deco landmarks set into the hillside, were built in 1929 and 1949 and will now be retired, Wilson said. The city’s original wells were put in around 1960 when the city was relocated to make way for Wells Dam.

The completed design concept for Well 4 Pump Station, unveiled in the Nov. 29 issue of the Quad City Herald, will be built next year in the parking lot on Lakeshore Drive across from Memorial Park.

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