City of Othello Water Supply Consulting Services

The Problem

The City of Othello (City) lies in the semi-arid desert of the Columbia Plateau and is entirely dependent on groundwater. The wellfield for this growing City of 8,000+ has suffered significant losses in capacity for decades, which cannot be sustainably addressed by only adding more wells. Beyond water supply, the City has a strong food processing industry – already home to two of the world’s largest potato processors – which requires steady and large volumes of water to keep the supply process humming.

How We Helped

Aspect assisted the City in assessing options to provide reliable, long-term water supply and helped secure Department of Ecology Office of Columbia River (OCR) grant funding to complete an Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) feasibility study and testing program. Aspect is currently implementing pilot testing using a new City well, Well 3R, that is instrumented specifically to allow for ASR pilot testing. Aspect developed well drilling specifications and provided direction, design, and management for construction of the new, 980-foot-deep well.

Client Milestones

The new well achieved water quality goals in a challenging environment and exceeded expectations for well yield. Well aquifer testing was completed in 2018, with ASR pilot testing planned for 2019 and 2020. The well testing and ASR program is a step towards the City developing a sustainable, reliable, environmentally responsible water plan for the Othello region that will serve Othello residents, food processors, agriculture, and the Columbia Basin region.

WRIA 31 Watershed Assessment and Planning

Aspect assisted WRIA 31 Policy Advisory Group with each phase of watershed planning. We expedited Level 1 watershed assessment in 10 months so that Phase 3 tasks could proceed, including development of the Watershed Management Plan that focused on water availability and quality, and fish habitat. We developed applications for Ecology grants to initiate Level 2 water quality and water storage projects, including aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) using Columbia River water to meet peak municipal demands. In Phase 4 we identified a preferred water-storage alternative to increase water supplies in the Horse Heaven Hills area using surface and subsurface reservoirs, and assisted the county in obtaining grants to move the preferred alternative into an appraisal assessment.