East Washington Rural Water continues to be a major customer for the City of Salem. On Monday night, Todd Ewen, president of the water corporation’s board, approached the Salem Board of Works and Safety about another possible hook up.
Currently East Washington Rural Water has four locations where they tap into the city’s water line. They’d like to add one more line in Canton. Ewen said there are two new poultry operations in that area which need at least 25,000 gallons a day.
Last year, East Washington used 281 million gallons of water that they paid the city for.
Mayor David Bower said East Washington is one of the city’s best customers. The mayor said he wants to clarify that the city does not tell its customers what they can and can’t do with their water. He said residents have told him that because the city allows East Washington to use the city’s water it means he is encouraging confined feeding operations.
“That’s not true,” said Bower. “East Washington is a customer and we cannot say how that water is used.”
There were a few details the mayor wanted to be looked into before approving the additional tap, including the location and size of the line. He told Ewen that as long as that checked out, the project would be ready to move forward.
Bower also told Ewen that he is concerned about the progress with Lake John Hay as a backup water source.
“We are concerned, too,” said Ewen, adding that they are looking for another engineer to look at the situation. “Failure is not an option. We have quite a bit of money invested and we are optimistic that it’s still a go.”
Bower said that back up water source will be a benefit to the city. “It will give us a year’s worth supply,” he said.