SUNNYSIDE It was a night of farewells for the Groundwater Advisory Committee, as the group paid tribute to a member who passed away and said good-bye to another who is retiring.
The chairman of the Irrigated Agriculture Working Group, Jim Trull, died in January. The working group wanted to honor him and his contributions, and suggested the entire committee sign a letter to his family to thank them.
The working group’s new chairman, Troy Peters of the WSU Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center, presented the letter which was passed around to be signed by committee members.
The group also recognized Charlie McKinney of the Washington Department of Ecology, who is retiring from his job and the committee.
Despite changes in committee membership, the consensus of the group was that progress is being made toward the goal of a working plan by 2017 to reduce nitrates in drinking water.
The group discussed successes in public outreach, including finding private wells to test for nitrates, so much so that the deadline has been extended to March 31. Those who want to have their wells tested can contact the Yakima Health District Help Desk at 509-249-6508.
“There’s been a domino effect as neighbors talk about their results, and more people want tests done,” Health District Representative Ryan Ibach said.