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“McAllister Wellfield: Yelm, Lacey and Nisqually and Squaxin tribes all part of deal that took years to settle”

“For more than 60 years, most of Olympias drinking water has bubbled up to the surface at McAllister Springs, on an idyllic lake tucked away from public view near the Nisqually Indian Tribe reservation.

But thats about to change.

After nearly two decades of effort on a $15 million project, Olympia is constructing a series of wells about a mile away from the springs, which will replace the springs by 2014. It will be Olympias drinking water source for at least the next 50 years.

‘Its been a long journey,’ said Rich Hoey, Olympias public works director. ‘This is a real legacy project for the city.’

Crews began drilling the wells this month, he said. In November, they will begin to lay a 4,200-foot water main that will connect the new 20-acre well field to the existing pipeline at McAllister Springs. Water will begin flowing from the wells to faucets citywide by spring of 2014. Olympia will share the well field with the Nisqually tribe, which will develop its own water source there in the next decade.

The project has been on the citys books since the early 1990s, but it has taken this long to grind its way through the regulatory process, culminating in approval from the state Department of Ecology, which granted water rights to Olympia, Lacey and the Nisqually tribe at the beginning of the year.”

[Ed. Note: Please notice that Yelm is omitted from the aforementioned sentence. Reporter Batcheldor failed to report that a citizens’ appeal with Ecology is in-process to stop Yelm’s water rights being granted, for if so, the citizens say their own wells will be depleted due to the volumes of water withdrawn and with the expenses borne by themselves. A hearing now scheduled for December, 2012.
Interesting this key information was omitted by The Olympian!]

“Olympia teamed with Lacey and Yelm, which were seeking additional water rights. That way, they could split the costs of mitigating the impacts to the water supply to get state approval. That involved protecting water bodies such as the Nisqually and Deschutes rivers, Woodland Creek and Lake St. Clair. The plan included buying and retiring certain irrigation water rights and adding reclaimed water to supplement stream flows in Woodland Creek.”

“The cities of Olympia, Lacey and Yelm bought a 197-acre farm on the Deschutes River south of Yelm in 2011 where existing water rights were to be retired. The land will be preserved and habitat restored. Wetlands will be created on the property, and stream channels enhanced for fish.”

“A maze of agreements had to be struck, including with the Nisqually tribe, Lacey, Yelm and the Squaxin tribe.”

“A public ceremony marking the beginning of the McAllister Wellfield project is planned for 3 p.m. Friday. Directions will be posted on the citys website, olympiawa.gov,'” quoting Matt Batcheldor in The Olympian.
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Posted by Steve on September 16, 2012 at 10:20 am | Permalink

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