Olympia expects to fully transition to its new regional source of drinking water by the end of the year.
City officials and the Nisqually Tribe held a dedication ceremony Oct. 4 for the McAllister Wellfield, which is replacing the adjacent McAllister Springs as Olympia’s main source of water.
The effort to change the water source has been 20 years in the making. Olympia had been tapping the springs since 1949. In 2008, the city and tribe entered an agreement to protect the springs, which are located on tribal land and hold spiritual significance for the Nisqually Tribe.
Located upstream from the springs, the wellfield will serve 50,000 residents in Olympia and an extra 20,000 residents outside the city. The wellfield also has a higher daily water capacity than the springs (23 million gallons vs. 16 million gallons), said public works director Rich Hoey.
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Some residents are already receiving water from the new source. Construction on the wellfield, which includes three pump houses, is slated for completion Oct. 17. The transition should be finished within the next two months, Hoey said.
“Everything is virtually operational now,” Hoey told The Olympian, noting that workers are testing the pumps and wrapping up the project. “Our goal is to be fully off the springs by the end of the year.”