- Associated Press - Thursday, May 5, 2016

ONTARIO, Ore. (AP) - Officials are looking to fix an aging pipeline that carries irrigation water to thousands of acres in Malheur County.

The Owyhee Irrigation District has hired an engineering firm to check the integrity of the 80-year-old Malheur Siphon and find a fix, The Capital Press reported Tuesday (https://is.gd/J4RkTl ).

Irrigation District officials said the pipe is starting to fail in an area east of the Malheur Butte, where the 80-inch pipe is supported by large steel legs. Irrigation District Manager Jay Chamberlin said the soil in that area expands and contracts by as much as 6 inches a day depending on the temperature.

“It’s like it’s doing this dance and it’s not all staying together,” he said.

The 4.3-mile-long steel pipe delivers up to 325 cubic feet per second of irrigation water from the Malheur Reservoir to farmers on the northern part of the district’s system.

“If that siphon went down, the whole north end wouldn’t have any water. It’s very important to this area,” said Paul Skeen, president of the Malheur County Onion Growers Association.

MWH Americas, a Boise, Idaho-based engineering firm, is receiving $45,000 to assess the problem, which appears to be legs that support the pipeline, not the pipe itself.

Chamberlin said a design fix should be ready by the end of summer and work could begin this fall.


Information from: Capital Press, https://www.capitalpress.com/washington



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