Kennewick, Pasco water systems may connect

A proposal to connect Pasco and Kennewick's water systems by adding a pipe across the cable bridge was met with skepticism Monday by some Pasco city council members.

The project is included in the city's comprehensive water plan, which the council adopted on a 4-3 vote after the discussion.

The intertie, planned for 2012, would help Pasco ensure water supply and fire flow, said Ahmad Qayoumi, Pasco public works director.

The city's new west Pasco water treatment plant does not produce enough water to meet the city's needs if an emergency shut down the larger Butterfield water treatment plant, he said.

The Butterfield plant produces about 25 million gallons of water per day, while the new plant currently provides about 6 million, Qayoumi said.

If the intertie pipe existed, Kennewick could help Pasco in an emergency, Qayoumi said. The cable bridge can carry a water pipe and the state has given its permission.

The $2.8 million project would be shared by both the cities, he said. Both would benefit from the pipe, which could carry about 16 million gallons of water per day.

But Councilman Tom Larsen said the city should just run a large fire hose across the bridge if an emergency occurred.

And Councilman Bob Hoffmann suggested Pasco could create back-ups for pumping and electricity and should look into shutting off water to food processors during an emergency.

Councilwoman Rebecca Francik said although she enjoyed the "what if" game, the plan the city hired Richland's CH2M Hill to create made sense.

And Councilman Al Yenney said although he had questions about the intertie, he would support the overall plan because the council will decide whether to fund the project later.

Larsen, Hoffmann and Mayor Matt Watkins voted against the comprehensive water plan.

Watkins said he wanted more information before voting, and Hoffmann wanted to remove the intertie proposal from the plan.

City Manager Gary Crutchfield said taking the intertie out of the plan would mean Pasco would have to revise the plan before applying for state funding.

w Kristi Pihl: 582-1512; kpihl@tricityherald.com