BASIN CITY -- Residents of the Basin City Mobile Home Park can expect a solution to the high levels of nitrates in their water soon.
Part of a $498,000 project by the Basin City Water and Sewer District will connect their homes to different wells that other Basin City residents use.
It's the first phase of Basin City Water and Sewer District's three-part plan to upgrade the 50-year-old water system, improve service and allow for growth.
Franklin County commissioners unanimously agreed to hire Sharpe & Preszler Construction of Kennewick to construct the project last week.
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Construction of the first phase is being paid for using part of a $1 million federal Community Development Block Grant received with Franklin County sponsorship.
As part of the first phase of the construction, the pumping system will be upgraded to handle an additional 107 patrons from the mobile home park and some underground piping will be replaced, said Doris Barnett, Basin City Water and Sewer District clerk. The project will include drilling under Road 170 to the mobile home park.
Nitrates reduce red blood cells' ability to carry oxygen, which in babies can lead to blue baby syndrome, according to the state Department of Health.
Basin City's system serves 229 households and about 1,400 people, Barnett said. The system has an annual budget of about $99,000.
Basin City residents formed the district in 2004 to provide water and sewer services. It wasn't until March 14, 2008, that the district bought the privately owned water system, which had deteriorated from lack of maintenance. An $800,000 state grant paid for the purchase.
"We are excited to get this show on the road," said Barnett, co-owner of Farm and Home Hardware.
The city also has a $1 million loan and grant from the state Department of Health to pay for a new water tower, Barnett said. The system will repay half of that as a loan.
The water tower will help ensure water capacity for users, she said. Barnett expects the water tower contract will go to bid this summer.
The district still needs to obtain money for the last piece of the project.
It had asked for Franklin County to sponsor an application for a $863,000 block grant for 2011 to pay to replace the connections to properties within Basin City and add water meters.
But commissioners decided in December to support an application by Eltopia Water Association, which is seeking a fix to high arsenic levels. The county can only recommend one for each grant cycle.
Barnett said the Basin City system intends to ask again for a block grant in the next cycle, if money is available.
The system's users, who include migrant workers and low-income families, can not afford the project without grant assistance, Barnett said.