‘COW’ water project finally arrives | News

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Lynden lays a pipeline to send condensation water from Darigold to the river

LYNDEN — Lynden Mayor Scott Korthuis would be the first to say he feels like it’s taken forever to complete a project he envisioned more than a decade ago.

He sought to claim for the city the water value of all the cow’s milk dried each day at the Lynden Darigold factory. Milk is made up of approximately 87% water.

The technical term, for an engineer at heart like Korthuis, is whey condensate (COW).

The process of drying milk involves first separating the milk components, then evaporating and condensing the remaining skimmed milk into water and powder.

For years clean cow water has been dumped into the Nooksack River below Lynden. Why couldn’t this count with the State Department of Ecology as a replenishment of the river?

“(The idea) has always been there. People just said it couldn’t be done. I pushed and pushed and pushed,” Korthuis said.

A breakthrough came when City Attorney Robert Carmichael penned a paper convincing environmental policy makers that Darigold’s water discharges – from milk produced in Whatcom and Skagit counties and beyond – beyond – met the legal definition of foreign water, coming from outside the city.

Lynden attempted to get the state legislature to credit COW water via a slight change in the law. It failed. Instead, Lynden won, through her lawmakers, a $1.95 million state grant to build a three-quarter-mile pipeline to move water from Darigold into the river.

The construction site is now visible at the Hannegan Road bridge just upstream from where the city draws its water supply. Strider Construction Co. is operating on a $2.4 million contract, with the city contributing some of its own money.

Strider has already cleared some trees near the bridge to make way for where the new drainpipe will be installed. There is still work to be done including a bore under Hannegan Road.

“The contractor will place an 18-inch high-density polyethylene pipe inside a 36-inch steel casing, installed using auger drilling,” said the director of public works, Steve Banham.

Then, from August to October, during the fishing period of the permitted construction activities in the rivers, the throwing device will be put in the river.

Some pipes were straightened during the construction of Riverview Road under Lynden. The formal agreement with Darigold was completed in 2017. The lengthy process also now allows for the development of more of the bench on the south side of Lynden.

Korthuis and Banham expect there will be a day in 2022 when they will turn a valve in this pipe system triggering the flow of water with a new impact for Lynden.

The city will benefit from an increase of around 15% in its water capacity. In technical jargon, the gain is about 380 acre-feet added to the 1,800 the city already has.

Quickly on his smartphone, Korthuis translates this into more than 200 gallons per minute more understandable.

This is important for several reasons.

First, Lynden itself continues to grow. Additionally, state agencies want the city, with its six-year-old sewage treatment plant, to be able to serve further afield if needed when small water associations encounter water quality or utility issues. other problems.

Then, since the 1990s, there has been the regulatory cloud over Lynden that sometimes more than its allotted 1,800 acre-feet of water is drawn in a year – although the city disputes the reasoning used. The current action will remedy this problem.

While absorbing some surrounding water suppliers, Lynden obtained its water rights, although none as large as Darigold COW’s water rights.

If ever there is a disruption in milk processing that produces less than clean water, the switch of a valve will send the waste to the city sewage treatment plant instead of the river.

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