[Vision2020] Residents worried about Logos water application

Moscow Cares moscowcares at moscow.com
Tue Sep 11 02:37:32 PDT 2018

And who could ever forget . . .


After all, Logos School’s lacrosse season is far more important than any Moscow (the one in Idaho) resident’s access to water. Right?

Courtesy of today’s (September 11, 2018) Moscow-Pullman Daily News.


Residents worried about Logos water application
School superintendent says he wants field ready for school's lacrosse season

Several residents expressed concern over a water right application Logos School submitted to the Idaho Department of Water Resources during a meeting with the Latah County Commissioners on Monday.

The school's application includes the installation of a well that would be allowed to pump no more than 13,000 gallons of water per day to irrigate a football field at the site of the proposed new school, which, as time and money allow, will be built on North Mountain View Road, adjacent to Mountain View Park in Moscow.

The original application called for the rights to 0.3 cubic feet of water per second, an equivalent of about 134 gallons per minute, which would supply enough water for about 300 homes.

Logos Superintendent Larry Stephenson said an error was made in the application and it was amended to 0.03 cfs, which is allotted for one home.

Janice Willard, who lives on Darby Road near the proposed school site, told the commissioners Logos' well would potentially affect her ability to draw water from her two wells.

"This isn't very neighborly," Willard said to Stephenson. "You're stealing my water."

Willard said if her wells go dry, she cannot hook up to the city's water system since she is just outside the city limits, whereas Logos, which would be located within the city, could use the city's water.

Stephenson told the commissioners the goal is to have the grass field ready for the school's lacrosse players to use in the spring.

He said the school, located on Baker Street, has never had its own grass field to call its own in its almost four decades of existence.

Stephenson said the school will cost about $15 million to build, and while it does not yet have enough funding, it does have enough to install the field and the well.

Stephenson said the school needs to raise about $8 million more before it can construct the new school. He did not give a timeline for when he expects it will raise that amount.

Stephenson said the school already obtained the right to use retention ponds, which will serve as the primary irrigation method. He said the hope is to only use the retention ponds to water the field, and if they go dry, the well will be used until the ponds regain water again.

After constructing the school and parking lot, three retention ponds will retain the water running off impervious surfaces such as the roof and parking lot. In the meantime, the well, if approved by the IDWR, will be the primary irrigation source for the football field until the school, parking lot and other impervious materials are constructed, Stephenson said.

The school building will be hooked to the city's water system, Stephenson said.

He said the plan is to put sod down this fall so the field is ready for the lacrosse season.

Stephenson said the school does not want to hook up to the city's system and irrigate the field because it deems it would be too expensive. He said by not hooking up to the city's system, the city does not need to use its time and money to install lines to the site, and treated city water is not necessary for irrigation purposes. "It doesn't make good environmental sense or economical sense for the city or for us," Stephenson said.

Stephenson also said the school would have to run a water line from Mountain View Park to the proposed football field, which could not be accomplished before Nov. 1, which is when he wants the sod to be laid.

Commissioner Dave McGraw told the Daily News he was encouraged to see the 0.3 cfs change to 0.03.

He said he is still concerned the well would be within city limits, especially since the school will be hooked up to the city water system likely in a year or two. He said he is also grappling with the fact the well is primarily intended to be used for only one or two years.

Commissioner Tom Lamar said his biggest question is if the well is primarily planned to be installed in order to get the field operational in the spring, then the students could continue to use other Moscow fields.

Tyler Palmer, Moscow deputy director of operations for public works, said private well requests within the Moscow city limits is uncommon. He said a private well has not been approved in the city in his nine years working for Moscow.

Palmer said it is far more economical for residents and businesses within the city to hook up to the city's municipal water system.

He said there are several private wells on properties that were previously outside the city, but then those properties were annexed into the city. Palmer said people can apply to drill a well in the city but generally do not choose to do so since the city already has a public water system.

He said the city has five active municipal wells. Two of the five active wells are in the shallower Wanapum Aquifer and the other three wells draw from the deeper Grande Ronde Aquifer.

He said Moscow has one irrigation well, which is located at Mountain View Park. Another municipal well, called Well No. 10, is drilled but not yet operational, Palmer said.

He said the Moscow School District Community Playfields on Joseph Street and the football field at Moscow Middle School is hooked to the city's water system.

Once the new Logos school is built, it will operate on the city system and pay to use the water, Palmer said. The school would not pay for the water drawn from the proposed well.

Palmer said the city takes a hard look at any water right request in Moscow. If Logos' proposed well was tied into the city system, the amount of water Logos is asking to use is in line with what the city would expect it to use if it was hooking up to the city water system, Palmer said.

"As a city, we're concerned about any water that gets proposed to be extracted because we have declining aquifers," Palmer said.

While Logos can independently track its water usage from the well, Palmer said the city would not require it to submit its metered numbers. He said the city does not track water usage on private wells, but it does closely track pumping on its own wells.

Palmer said the average Moscow resident uses 85 gallons of water per day in his or her home, meaning a family of four uses an average of 10,200 gallons per month.

Both the city and county protested Logos' water rights application, meaning they wanted to request additional information from the school regarding the application, and have since spoke with Stephenson, including the county commissioners' meeting with him Monday. While both the city and county can voice their opinions to the IDWR, the state agency ultimately approves or rejects the application.


Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .

"Moscow Cares" (the most fun you can have with your pants on)
Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho
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