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Letter to editor: Mothball Wicks?

To the editor:

This is an open letter to our mayor and city council. I would like to see a feasibility study on the cost-benefit of mothballing Wicks Reservoir water treatment plant. I think the savings would be substantial. At present, our town isn’t using more than 6.5 million gallons per day, even during our driest, hottest days. That is why revenue projections aren’t being met, thus the yearly increases in our water rates.

The problem I have with our yearly 8 to 10 percent increases is the majority of our infrastructure improvements are connected to Wicks. Our town has three wells (Marks, Jordan and Lone Pine) that can, on a daily basis, provide 11 million gallons of water. It is a well-known fact that well water is a lot cheaper to bring to your tap than Wick’s surface water.

Another fact about our three wells is, even if we aren’t using them, they have to be fired up and checked out every three months. Start-up is the major cost of running our wells. Wicks is monitored 24-7. This is a substantial cost that is a major part of our water rate. How much? Let’s do a feasibility study, a nonpartisan one, please, to find out.

Some people might think I have an agenda because I install and maintain underground sprinkler systems. Well, I do, because our town is turning brown and as rates keep rising I lose business.

We have plenty of product (water), the city is just pricing it out of people’s ability to buy. I’ve been fighting our water rate increases for the past 20 years. It is a never-ending cycle. We have plenty of water, but every time the city raises the water rate, people use less. With less water use, revenue is not met, so the city raises rates more.

Why not mothball Wicks? We don’t need the water. At the rate we are going, in a few more years, we may only need the Jordan Street well. Here’s something to think about. Our last three public works directors previously managed Wicks before their promotions. Is Wicks untouchable? Maybe that’s why.

Bruce Harris

The Dalles

Comments

TannerAnders 1 month, 3 weeks ago

One issue I can see is that trading a renewable resource for a relatively finite one is always a bad idea. Think of the wells not as a primary source, but as a "strategic reserve".

That's not to mention that The Dalles has always had fantastic drinking water. This is due to the treatment it receives at Wicks. Compare with the comparatively poor quality of Chenoweth water, which is from wells. Pediatricians are advising using bottled water for baby formula in the Chenoweth district, but say that tap is fine on city water, thanks to Wicks.

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