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The water supply for Moscow comes from wells that are drilled in basalt which often contain sulfates. The sulfates are often converted to hydrogen sulfide in hot water heaters or other places where water may sit before it is used. This conversion is done by a harmless bacteria referred to as "sulfur reducing" bacteria and the side effect is the rotten egg smell. Even though the Water Division of the Moscow Public Works Department uses chlorine for disinfection the rotten egg odor can occur in low use areas where the chlorine has dissipated.
The water supply for Moscow comes from wells that are drilled in basalt which normally contains iron and manganese. The iron and manganese can accumulate on the inside of customer or City pipes and when water use is high comes off the pipe and makes the water yellow. We recommend that you wait for the water to clear before drinking or using for laundry. Experience has indicated the water is safe to drink after it clears but if you are concerned please call us at 208-882-3122.
Typically your water meter will be near a property line adjacent to the street. If you do not know where your meter is and would like to know please contact the Water Division.
The most common cause is a leak. Please check the commodes in your home or business to confirm that they are shutting off. Dye tables are available for free in the Water Division Office that can be used to check for a leaky commode. Also check the faucets in the home and look outside between the meter and the house for wet spots. If no apparent leaks or other issues are found just give us a call.
Call the Moscow Police Department at 208-882-2677 (882-COPS) and they will dispatch a Water Division employee.
Flush your cold water faucet for 5-10 minutes and it should clear up. If it does not, call the Moscow Water Division at 208-882-3122.
Open the meter box and you will most likely need to clean the lens that is on the top of the meter. Under the lens you will see a row of numbers. Read all the numbers to the left of the decimal point. If you are having trouble please contact the Water Division at 208-882-3122 for help.
Irrigation systems connected to the City of Moscow's water supply require appropriate backflow protection. Moscow City Code Title 7, Chapter 9 requires that all irrigation systems, existing or new, must be equipped with an approved backflow prevention assembly and must be inspected and tested annually by a State of Idaho licensed backflow assembly tester.A backflow assembly installed on your system is necessary to help prevent contaminates from entering the public water supply through what is known as backflow condition. Backflow is defined as, "the flow, other than the intended direction of flow of any foreign liquids, gases, or substances into the distribution system of a public water supply."The protection of Moscow's water supply is of critical importance to both the City of Moscow and its citizens. If you have any questions about your irrigation system, or if you know that your irrigation system is not protected by a backflow prevention assembly and would like a list of licensed professionals who can install and test the appropriate assembly, please email Kyle Steele or call the Water Division at 208-882-3122.
The official start of Moscow's outdoor irrigation season is announced annually. To learn the date, call 208-882-3122.
Please refrain from irrigating until drier soils and low precipitation necessitate the application of additional water. When you do apply water to the landscaping at your residence or business, please observe the following City ordinances to help conserve water. Thank you in advance!
During the irrigation season, sprinkler irrigation is only allowed between 6 p.m. to 10 a.m. while applying water with a hand-held automatic shut-off nozzle is allowed anytime. The use of a soaker hose or drip irrigation is not permitted until the irrigation season. If you have new landscaping that needs to be watered outside of allowed watering times you may apply for a variance with the Moscow Water Division at 201 North Main Street.
Avoid watering impervious surfaces such as gravel, asphalt, concrete, or brick.
The City of Moscow receives its water entirely from groundwater sources. This means that rather than being supplied with water from a lake or reservoir, we pump water from two main underground aquifer systems, the Wanapum Aquifer System and the Grande Ronde Aquifer System. Contrary to popular myth, aquifers are not underground lake or river systems. Rather, the water in the aquifer systems is located in the cracks, pores, and fissures of the basalt and sediment layers.
The Wanapum Aquifer System is the shallower aquifer system of the Palouse Basin and is found starting about 60 feet below the surface. This system supplies about 30% of the City of Moscow's water. Wanapum well levels in Moscow area wells fluctuate some due to pumping and recharge but appear to be fairly stable.
The Grande Ronde Aquifer System is the deeper aquifer system of the Palouse Basin and is generally found at depths below 300 feet, if it is available at all. This system is the main source of water for the City of Moscow and virtually the only source for Pullman and Washington State University.
In the Moscow area water is a precious resource. Research to protect the quality water in our aquifer systems is an ongoing venture. While more is learned every day, there are still many unknowns. The Moscow Water Division is working toward sustainable practices to ensure water will remain as accessible in the future as it is now.
Tips for reducing water use include:
No. Offensive odors are indications that something in the treatment process is not working correctly. To ensure the treatment process is working correctly, Plant Operators make daily assessments of the system checking for potential odor causing problems.
In accordance with our EPA regulated National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, the City of Moscow discharges the treated wastewater into Paradise Creek on the west side of Moscow.
The solids that are removed during the plant process are pumped to an on-site dewatering process. After dewatering the solids, then known as Biosolids, are trucked to an authorized processing facility for composting.
Directly across from the Palouse Mall in Moscow ID, our buildings have distinctive, and very noticeable, blue roofs.
Generally, the wastewater treatment process takes approximately 24 – 36 hours.
We use three different chemicals in our plant process. Chlorine is added to neutralize pathogenic, or disease causing organisms. After chlorination, sulfur dioxide is added to remove the chlorine before it is discharged into Paradise Creek. During the summer months we add a small amount of aluminum sulfate to coagulate, or capture, phosphorus that was not removed biologically in the treatment process. Phosphorus is an essential nutrient in plant growth yet excessive amounts can lead to eutrophication, an overabundance of plants and algae in a water body causing the depletion of oxygen needed for fish and other animals to survive.
Currently, we have 4 Plant Operators, 1 laboratory Analyst, 1 Administrative Assistant, 1 Transport Driver, and the Plant Supervisor.
On average, we treat approximately 2 million gallons of domestic wastewater per day. Our plant is designed to accept and fully treat 4 million gallons per day if needed.
Rain water tends to thin out the domestic wastewater allowing certain unwanted bacteria to thrive. Plant Operators make adjustments in the plant process to curtail the unwanted filamentous bacteria. The City works to identify where rainwater is entering the sanitary sewer system so that the flows can be permanently redirected to the storm water collection system.
While most Plant Staff have college degrees, working in wastewater treatment can commence directly after High School.
Millions and millions of microorganisms or "bugs" live in the wastewater treatment plant. They are essential for proper treatment and are directly responsible for pollution removal.
The microorganisms consume organic material such as fecal matter, ammonia, and other microorganisms. They cannot consume or break down inorganic material like metal, plastic, latex, or cinders.
The "bugs" are natural living organisms in human and animal excrement.
The microorganisms reproduce themselves approximately every 20 to 30 minute by a process called mitosis.
We look for several different types of microorganisms in wastewater. Our Lab Analyst collects daily wastewater samples, and uses a microscope to identify the most prolific number and type of organisms present at that time. This information is used to calculate how much solids material is removed from the system or how much material can be used in the process again.
The City of Moscow Wastewater Division recommends that these items be disposed of in the garbage rather than being introduced to the sanitary sewer system. All of these materials, and in particular, a combination of the three can create opportunities for plugging private sewer services and public sewer mains. Grease is especially challenging as it solidifies within the mains or floats through the system and through the WRRF.