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Anatone engages engineering students to design a better sewage solution

Highlights in Conservation icon

Anatone engages engineering students to design a better sewage solution

Washington State University Civil Engineering student, Tyler Dester presents a senior class team project, Anatone Sewer Project, to local homeowners at the Anatone Community Hall, last December 5, 2006. Photo credit to Cheryl Sonnen, Asotin County Conservation District (ACCD).

Washington State University Civil Engineering student, Tyler Dester presents a senior class team project, Anatone Sewer Project, to local homeowners at the Anatone Community Hall, last December 5, 2006. Photo credit to Cheryl Sonnen, Asotin County Conservation District (ACCD).

Location icon
Asotin County, City of Anatone

Project Summary icon
For years, the 45 residents of the tiny town of Anatone in Asotin County have known they needed a solution to their sewage problems Earlier last year, a group of residents wrote personal checks to allow a group of civil engineering students from Washington State University (WSU) to help them out. Working with professional engineers as part of their senior design project, the students designed a sewage collection, treatment and disposal system for the town. They also provided a detailed cost estimate for the project and information on grant programs that the town can apply for to help offset the costs. The students presented their design to area residents at the Anatone Community Hall. "Residents of Anatone rely on antiquated septic systems," says Cheryl Sonnen, resource technician for the Asotin County Conservation District. "The systems are built in poorly drained soils, possibly leaking into Mill Creek, a steelhead-bearing stream" said Sonnen. The town wanted to search for ways to comply with water quality regulations. Applying for grants requires detailed design plans and cost estimates which can be costly. Sonnen talked to a WSU alumni who told her about the college’s senior design projects. She then contacted Shane Brown to get the project off the ground. During the fall, the students came for a site visit and surveying. They also held a community meeting, presented three options to area residents and gathered feedback. "This has been an outstanding group of students," Sonnen said. The students designed a project that links the septic tanks and using gravity or low-pressure sewer lines, takes the effluent to a disposal drainfield about 1,000 north of town. Students who worked on the project are Kelsey Laughlin, Eric Ferguson, Dan McCracken and Tyler Dester. Brown is their advisor. Tina Hilding, communications coordinator, College of Engineering and Architecture, WSU and The Blue Mountain RC&D is also working with the Asotin County Conservation District, Asotin City Engineer and Anatone Homeowners to resolve the sewer issue.

Conservation Partners icon
Asotin County Conservation District (ACCD), Cheryl Sonnen, Resource Technician; Washington State University, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Shane Brown,WSU Clinic Assistant Professor. Anatone homeowners, Bob Hough; Blue Mountain RC&D Council, Jerry Hendrickson, President

Resource Challenges icon
Shallow, clay soils. Not conducive to well drained, efficient septic systems. Outdated, unimproved and inefficient residential septic systems. Proximity to feeder streams that drain to anadromous fish streams, Mill Creek in the Mill Creek Watershed. A long term problem that has been acknowledged; and now, finally being addressed. Coordination with local school district for siting of sewage collection area. Identification of funding to support the project. Few homeowners to carry the financial burden of necessary infastructure improvements. Homeowners know they need to act...and soon.

Conservation Program Used icon
RC&D Program has enabled project facilitation, and a partnership with the local conservation district will help in future project funding.

Results and Accomplishments icon
Conservation partnership strengthens relationship with Asotin County Conservation District and local homeowners. WSU students complete senior project assisting local residents by designing a sewage collection system, treatment and sewage disposal system for Anatone residents. One option for a long term, relatively low cost solution is presented.

Homeowners are empowered to continue the process to resolve their long-term sewage disposal issues. Asotin County Engineer, Asotin County CD, Blue Mountain RC&D and Anatone homeowners are meeting to plan the next step toward a solution. This includes homeowners identifying themselves as an LID - Landowner Improvement District or a Water Sewer District (WSD).

Contact icon
Lisa Naylor, Blue Mountain Resource Conservation & Development Office, (509) 382-8968

NRCS, Spring 2007

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