City leaders work on Moscow's Well #10 for secondary source of main water

MOSCOW, ID - The city of Moscow is one step closer to constructing a new well that would serve as a backup in case the city's main water source goes down, like it did in 2012.

Reporter Rachel Dubrovin explains why the district court will need to approve funding for the project before they can start construction.

We're on the west side of Moscow at the site where the city hopes to build a brand new well.

"It would be a well that would be constructed to approximately 1,300 feet in depth, have a pumping capacity of maybe 2,300 a minute, pretty similar to the Well Number Nine facility," said Moscow Public Works Director Les MacDonald.

The city hopes to install Well Number Ten in this lot. It would serve as a backup for Well Number Nine, which supplies 40% of the city's water.

"Current codes require that we have a redundancy in our system, and our system is currently deficient as far as and provision of water when our largest producing well, Well Number Nine goes down," said Moscow City Supervisor Gary Riedner.

Building Well Number Ten alone will cost about $2.7 million. But the city also needs to replace six booster stations that increase water pressure for the higher portions of town. Total, the project will cost four-million-295-thousand-dollars.

"This is a revenue bond, the folks who purchase these bonds may look to the revenues of the utility, and not of the general taxes," said Riedner.

On Tuesday night, the Moscow City Council unanimously decided to issue revenue bonds to pay for it. The water department has already raised Moscow's water rates in anticipation for this project, and property taxes won't be affected.

"The city did recently complete a rate study, and that study did contemplate these improvements as well as others in the capital program," said MacDonald. "And the rate program that's been set forward, starting in October of 2013 and moving on into the future years, anticipates the cost of those projects and incorporates that cost into the rate structure."

Not the city council agreed to petition for Judicial Confirmation. That means a district court judge will decide if this is an "ordinary and necessary" expense... as the city claims it is.

If the city receives judicial confirmation, construction on the new well could start as soon as this fall.