According to the Richland City Council agenda, for the next five years, Richland, Kennewick, Pasco, and West Richland will jointly fund a program to screen untreated water samples for the presence of toxins associated with harmful algae blooms (HABs). The screenings will help the cities keep the HABs out of the treated water. No measures to prevent future toxic algae blooms are mentioned in the material with the agenda.
In Sept. 2021, HABs were identified in the Columbia River near Richland after dogs that contacted it died.
Nutrients, nitrogen and phosphorus, from fertilizer applied to farms and suburban lawns and parks contribute to the algae blooms. When late-summer, warm, slow-moving water becomes part of the mix, HABs can result.
Instead of beefing up riparian vegetation along the shoreline that absorbs some of the nutrients from surrounding property, Richland has been reducing the buffers.
Excess fertilizer that is not absorbed by plants may also be leaching into the river from farms north of Richland.
Homeowners send runoff that may contain fertilizer into the storm drains that empty into the river.
No prevention is mentioned in the plan to protect the water supply from HABs.
New Queensgate development
The plan for the new development at Queensgate, The Terraces at Queensgate South, fills 390 pages of the 485-page agenda packet. The 48-acre property will include 19 single-family homes and 89 townhomes. The developer is asking for a reduction in setback requirements.
The council meeting starts a 6 pm at city hall. Cable Channel 192 carries the meeting which can also be streamed at Richland City View. The agenda and packet for the meeting have a handy search feature to use in finding the items.
1.Swearing in of Police Officer Lucas Swanson
2. Building Safety Month Proclamation The city has outsourced its building plan reviews and building inspections to a contractor while it tries to hire people to fill the city hall jobs. Perhaps they need to be nicer to their employees.
3. Economic Development Week Proclamation
4. Public Service Recognition Week Proclamation
5. Fuse Launch University
6. New hires and retirements
Public Hearing – you have 3 minutes to comment on the item below.
7. Proposed third amendment to the 2019 Community Development Block Grant Annual Action Plan. See Item 16 below.
Public Comments You have two minutes to comment on anything. If you have a question, ask for a response as soon as possible.
Consent calendar These are considered non-controversial by the council so there’s no discussion and one vote for all of them together.
8. Minutes for the April 18 meeting and the April 25 workshop.
9. Approving The Terraces at Queensgate South
10. Authorizing an agreement with Pasco, Kennewick and West Richland to screen water samples for toxic algae.
11. Authorizing a second amendment to the consultant agreement with Commonstreet consulting, LLC for street project right-of-way acquisition services. This will include the South George Washington Way intersection improvements and the downtown connectivity project. This amendment increases the contract from $240,000 to $490,000.
12. Authorizing the purchase from Virginia Transformer Corporation for two new power transformers for the Thayer substation.
13. Authorizing an MOU for the city to participate in the Foundation for Water & Energy Education (FWEE) Tri-Cities STEM career academy,
14. The Special Investigation Unit administration will shift from the Kennewick Police Department to the Benton County Sheriff’s Office. The unit investigates incidents involving police officers. The SIU parties are Benton, Franklin and Walla Walla Counties and Kennewick, Richland, West Richland, Prosser, Pasco, Connell, Walla Walla, College Place, the Washington State Patrol and the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife.
15. Appointment of Steven Wiley and Charles Miller to seats on the Richland Public Facilities District Board. Three people applied.
16. The CARES Act allocated $310,301 to Richland and $140,725 remains unspent. That will be allocated for up to three months or $3000 for mortgage or rent assistance and utility assistance not to exceed three months or $1000 and assistance with up to three months of past-due mortgage/utility payments.
In addition 52 lights will be installed in the common areas of the Uptown Shopping Center on the property owned by the city
Reports and Comments: City manager and city councilmembers blah, blah, blah
Do you know what the city is doing about middle housing or affordable housing? The new development you mentioned doesn’t seem to address people in need of affordable housing.
Hi Leona, That’s a good question. I’m not aware of any “affordable” housing being built in Richland at this time. Richland does have some Section 8 housing. The city contributes to county-wide programs which received extra funding from the federal government in the last two years. I asked a county staff person how that money was used, and the answer was — this group got this much, this group got this much,….etc. I haven’t followed up to see how “this much” was used to actually help people. Thanks for reading the Observer. Randy
Harmful Algae blooms are an interesting issue. As a rule of them you shouldn’t let your dogs drink from the Columbia River. There’s a lot of life in it.
Here are some photos of some algae from Genus’s that can be responsible for HAB I took earlier this year.