KID, CID work on winter projects

The Kennewick and Columbia irrigation districts that serve Kennewick-area customers have scheduled more than $1.5 million in winter maintenance work before a new irrigation season starts.

KID is tackling a $1 million canal relining project for four miles of the East Badger Canal and about two miles of the main canal.

Crews for CID plan to reshape the last two miles of the main canal on the Finley end of the line to realign and streamline flows. Workers also will use ground-penetrating radar to identify weak spots along the main canal where buried timbers that were part of the canal support system have rotted, said Keith Martin, CID manager.

KID's crews have a challenging winter assignment laying out almost $700,000 worth of rubberized lining and padding on the main and East Badger Canals.

Ed Everaert, engineering and operations manager, said two shifts of 10 workers each will attempt to roll out the lining material, which comes in 30-foot and 35-foot widths, bury the outside edges in trenches, and then use about 1 foot of rock as ballast to anchor the liner to the canal bottom.

Everaert said KID crews will learn by doing the installation, with advice from a representative of the company that provides the lining.

"The beauty of this is in erosion control," Everaert said, noting the smooth texture of the liner also allows faster flows, which means more water delivered in a 24-hour period.

This will be the first of a five-year program to line KID canals. Using KID crews to install the liner is saving more than $1 million in labor costs this year, he said.

"We're hoping for 50 years' life with this," Everaert said

Martin said CID will spend about $555,000 for winter work, with about $324,000 to pay for radar probing for weak spots and relining those sections of the main canal.

A main canal break last summer along the Yakima River is believed to have been triggered by a weak spot from the subterranean wooden structure that was part of the canal's support.

Martin said the winter to-do list also includes silt removal throughout the canal system and dewatering parts of the main canal near Elliott Lake where upland drainage has put debris into the canal bottom.

CID has about $1.9 million in its 2011 budget for canal maintenance and operations. The district's total annual budget is $2.3 million.