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Grant funds Coupeville water study

Coupeville’s plans to better harness stormwater and wastewater has taken a giant leap forward.

Officials recently learned the town will receive a $132,000 grant from the Washington State Department of Ecology for an aquifer storage and retrieval study. The town chipped in $9,780 as a match.

The study will research whether it’s possible for the town to store stormwater and wastewater for use as irrigation for local farmers during drier times of the year, Mayor Nancy Conard said.

The study will examine the best use for stormwater. It’s possible that the dirty water could be used for irrigation, to help establish a riparian corridor, or simply treated and released into Penn Cove.

A second part of the study will examine the condition of the town’s stormwater and provides suggestions to clean it better before being discharged into Penn Cove or elsewhere.

Consultant Rex Porter said the projects being conducted by the town are complementary.

“These things should be pretty well meshed,” Porter said during Tuesday’s town council meeting.

Including the new grant, the town has received $367,000 from the state Department of Ecology to study uses for stormwater. In addition to the projects funded by the Department of Ecology, the town is undertaking a phytoremediation project, which basically utilizes tree roots to clean ground water.

The aquifer study calls for the construction of a capital project at its conclusion. While the grant money will pay enough for permits and design for the project, there isn’t enough money to pay for construction.

Porter said the project would probably be some kind of storage well for the water.

Conard said she’s confident that project money will eventually be available from state or federal agencies because of the interest in improving the quality of water flowing into Puget Sound.

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