Water supply and water quality are at the forefront of Yakima County’s plans for 2014.
That’s according to Yakima County Commissioner Rand Elliott, the featured speaker Wednesday morning for the Sunnyside Daybreak Rotary Club.
In something like a “state of the county” address, Elliott said changes are underway within the next year or so on new wells in Yakima County.
Hoping to avoid a moratorium on new wells the state imposed on Kittitas County, Elliott says the plan here is to put limits on how much water can be drawn from new wells, and to develop a permitting process.
He says new wells will eventually be metered, with property owners receiving monthly water utility bills.
Elliott notes that wells already in place will not likely face the restrictions and metering planned for new wells.
On another water front, Elliott says work continues for a groundwater advisory group seeking to address high levels of nitrates in the groundwater for many rural wells in the Lower Valley.
He says it’s a struggle to make progress, as 23 different entities are at the table, and notes that moving forward the groundwater group will have to stay on task during its meetings.
Elliott said the Yakima Health District is in the process of reaching out to property owners with wells in rural areas of the Lower Valley.
He told Rotarians some of the property owners have been hesitant about participating in the well surveys, which is making an accurate review difficult.
Bottom line, says Elliott, health district officials are conducting the well surveys as a public service, not to gain personal information.
“If the health district wants to test your well, please allow them do so,” Elliott said in a plea to the public. “There are no ulterior motives and it’s in your best interests.”