09 Jun Efforts Underway to Fix Crossings Over the Potholes Canal
There are efforts underway, thanks to the leadership and initiative taken by the South Columbia Basin Irrigation District (SCBID) – to move sewer lines that currently cross over the Potholes East Canal (Potholes). Potholes supplies irrigation water to approximately 225,000 acres of irrigated farmland within the Columbia River Basin and should one of these sewer lines leak into the canal during the irrigation season, farmers will not be able to use that water. Any fruit that comes into contact with contaminated water would be considered unfit for human consumption, threatening entire orchards, livelihoods of growers, and potentially consumer health. The impacts to food safety were not as recognized when the permits to allow above-canal crossings were authorized. Since then, more attention has been focused on food safety.
Relocating these sewer lines is critical but funding is needed to do so. The City of Othello has taken proactive steps necessary to minimize the risk and submitted a request to Senator Murray for congressionally-directed funding to replace the above-canal sewer crossings and is awaiting response.