West Richland and the Port of Kennewick plan to develop a cutting-edge winery effluent treatment plant to make the former Tri-City Raceway even more attractive for wineries.
They plan to hire a consultant to study the proposal, splitting the cost of up to $19,000.
The city of Pasco and the Port of Pasco used a similar method — building a process water treatment plant — to attract food processors to the Pasco Processing Center.
Winery process waste tends to spike around crush season in the fall, with some other, smaller spikes, said Roscoe Slade, West Richland’s public works director. That can be difficult for a municipal system to handle.
The process water from wineries has some suspended solids, is high in sugars and has high biological oxygen demand, Slade said. It takes a lot of air to break down the sugars.
The proposed study will examine options for the winery effluent treatment plant, Slade said.
The plant might fit on an acre and be completely enclosed, officials said. The study will determine whether to reuse the water for irrigation or to use the plant to pretreat the effluent, and then dispose of it through the city’s wastewater treatment plant.
Exactly how much of the raceway property would be used has not yet been determined, Slade said.
West Richland has a $2 million public works trust fund loan from the state, Slade said. The loan, which has a 0.5 percent interest rate, will be paid back over 20 years. The loan requires that the project be finished by September 2016.
The city also has saved $400,000 from sewer connection charges as a local match for the project, he said.
The wineries that use the treatment plant will pay for the debt service and operations, Slade said. The project will need to be self-sufficient so it does not affect the sewer rates of West Richland residents.
“We are making sure that it is financially feasible,” he said.
The wine effluent treatment plant will bring in something that is not currently offered on the West Coast, except in California, said West Richland Councilman Brent Gerry.
It becomes a drawing point for wineries, because it can save them money, he said. It can also be environmentally friendly.
And the treatment plant will be able to serve facilities in West Richland, Slade said. For example, VinMotion Wines in the Red Mountain Center is already plumbed so the process water is split from domestic waste water. Once the plant is built, the process water could be rerouted to the plant.