Friday, May 29, 2009

Hailey eyes plan to recycle wastewater

City could use partially treated effluent to irrigate Quigley Canyon

Express Staff Writer

The Hailey Public Works Department is looking into digging its first wastewater reclamation line to offset water consumption and wastewater discharges associated with a proposed development in Quigley Canyon.

The plan would return partially treated wastewater from the Woodside treatment plant back to Quigley Canyon for irrigation purposes, limiting the amount of treated effluent the city discharges into the Big Wood River.

The project would also buy some time if the city determines it needs to upgrade its wastewater treatment facility.

"This would be a first for Hailey," said Public Works Director Tom Hellen. "Instead of discharging to the river, the water could be cleaned up enough to reclaim and use for irrigation purposes."

Hellen pointed out that the partially treated water would have to be stored somewhere and used only at night in order to comply with reclaimed water use regulations.

David Hennessey, lead representative for the plan to develop 379 homes and a golf course in Quigley Canyon, has been working with the city on a plan to place the reclamation line under Woodside Boulevard above an existing sewer line. That project would be part of an overall plan to upgrade the sewer line and improve Woodside Boulevard.

"There was a synergy with these projects," said Hellen.

At a workshop with city staff at Hailey City Hall on Tuesday, Hennessey requested that he be allowed to run the reclamation line along the public bike path instead, saving him money on digging costs.

Hellen, who was not at the meeting, said digging along the bike path would bring the reclamation line to Fox Acres Road and state Highway 75.

The line would then have to be extended to the mouth of Quigley Canyon to hook up with the development.

Hennessey's lawyer, Evan Robertson, said at the workshop that the developers original plan to install innovative, on-site wastewater and reclamation systems within the 379-home development were not likely to meet state Department of Environmental Quality requirements.

Hailey is anticipating stricter wastewater discharge limits from the federal Environmental Protection Agency later this year, which could mandate a treatment facility upgrade.

According to a memo from Hellen on the city's Web site, the timeline for completing any necessary upgrades to the treatment plant will be dependent on both EPA requirements and growth in the city.

"By optimizing some wastewater treatment processes, Hailey believes it can meet even the stricter EPA discharge permit requirements for six years or more," he said.

Tony Evans:

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