June 5, 2023 | Working with the DEQ

Staff have been working closely with the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) regarding proposed future construction plans. The DEQ has assured staff that they will work in partnership with the City to expeditiously review the submittals provided. Given the unique circumstances, everyone involved with the project is working to find ways to get the high reservoir back on line as quickly and as safely as possible. As of today, the most critical item that will impact the schedule is the procurement, manufacturing, and delivery of the materials necessary for the project. Currently, everything remains on schedule. 

Why hasn't the City loosened irrigation restrictions? Unfortunately, it is not feasible to lift the restrictions in the high zone, which encompasses the area from Normal Hill to Bryden and heavily relies on wells from other zones due to the absence of stored water in the high reservoir. 

Lewiston's irrigation restrictions are unique compared to more traditional water conservation efforts typically implemented in other communities. Unlike water conservation measures implemented due to insufficient water supply, Lewiston has an abundance of water to serve its customers. Therefore the limitation isn't the amount of water available, instead, the issue is the capacity of the current system to deliver water efficiently. 

The undersized pipes used to transfer water from the wells to the high zone were not designed to be transmission mains. In essence, the current infrastructure is unable to keep up with the demand, akin to trying to drink through a small straw, during peak usage. Additionally, the presence of multiple pressure zones within the system, dictated by the local topography, makes it challenging to provide designated irrigation windows for entire neighborhoods. 

Our primary objective is to prevent sudden surges in demand that could potentially overwhelm the system. While there is capacity within the system, a significant portion of it needs to be reserved for fire flow demand, ensuring public safety in case of emergencies. We are exploring ways to allocate some of the system's capacity without compromising our ability to provide adequate fire flow. 

At present, the system is capable of satisfying two out of the three major demands: fire flow, and domestic usage, but not regular irrigation. We are working to find a balance that allows for additional irrigation allocation without encroaching on the crucial fire flow capacity. 

Individuals who are disabled or elderly may be eligible for an alternative watering schedule tailored to their needs. To inquire about this option and obtain further information, please contact the City of Lewiston Public Works office at 208-746-1316 or reach out via email at publicworks@cityoflewiston.org. Our team will be happy to assist you and provide additional details. 

Thank you for your understanding as we navigate this complex situation together. We remain committed to exploring alternatives that strike the right balance between meeting our community's diverse needs while maintaining the water system's safety and stability.  

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1. January 18, 2023 | Rupture Occurred
2. January 19, 2023 | Council Approves Resolution for Emergency Spending
3. January 25, 2023 | Reservoir Drained and Isolated from System
4. January 26, 2023 | Boil Water Order Lifted
5. January 23, 2023 | Council Issues a Continuance of Local Disaster Emergency
6. February 7, 2023 | Mayor Issues Order Terminating Local Disaster Emergency
7. February 23, 2023 | Technical Update Provided to Staff
8. March 27, 2023 | Council Approved Recommendation to Reuse the High Reservoir
9. April 17, 2023 | Discovery that First Plan was No Longer Viable
10. May 2, 2023 | Irrigation Restrictions Begin for Affected Water Customers
11. May 3, 2023 | Council Amends Emergency Expenditures Resolution
12. May 4, 2023 | Council Approves Second Proposed Plan and Contractor Moves Forward
13. May 12, 2023 | Demolition Begins
14. May 19, 2023 | Demolition is Complete
15. June 5, 2023 | Working with the DEQ
16. June 20, 2023 | Restoration Project is 65% Complete
17. July 7, 2023 | High Reservoir Liner Installed
18. July 31, 2023 | Irrigation Restrictions Lifted