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Half-million dollar gamble?

Sunnyside inks deal to clean up smelly water

City of Sunnyside officials want to address reports of smelly water in some areas of town through a $630,000 contract the city council signed Monday, Nov. 14, with Pacific Groundwater Group/HDR Engineering.

"Can you guarantee us the water won't smell?" Councilman Mike Farmer asked Pacific Groundwater Group representative Jim Bridges.

That guarantee couldn't be made, though Bridges said a plan to rehabilitate well #10 rather than drilling a new well will save the city about $1 million.

The problem, he explained, is the presence of hydrogen sulfate in well 10. Though not harmful, the chemical can cause odor problems.

Farmer said the city has tried other alternatives to remove odor from the water, but to no avail. He termed Pacific Groundwater's proposal a "half-million dollar gamble."

City Administrator Bob Stockwell noted there are advantages to refurbishing well 10 rather than drilling anew. "With well 10 we have infrastructure in place that we can use. It's more cost effective."

As to whether or not the plan to strip the offending chemicals and pump them out of the water supply will work, Bridges said there will be a difference, but could not predict the extent to which it would improve the water from well 10.

Bridges suggested that additional chlorination could be used to make up the difference if there remained enough hydrogen sulfate to cause continued odor problems.

The resolution approved Monday was an amendment to an existing contract with Pacific Groundwater/HDR Engineering, which is also working with Sunnyside on wells 11 and 12.

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