Future of Soap Lake mineral water in limbo

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The Soap Lake City Council is studying the future of Soap Lake's mineral water system needing repair.

SOAP LAKE - The mineral water system for Soap Lake, a staple at local hotels for decades, isn't working. There's no money to fix it and the city is looking for "out-of-the-box" ideas to determine the future of the system.

The Soap Lake City Council listened to input from about 15 residents at a workshop Wednesday night. From a public bath to a water delivery truck, residents were determined to find a solution.

"It's one special place. There's nothing else like it anywhere on the planet," Kathy Kiefer said, speaking on the history of Soap Lake.

The city was able to repair a crack in the system late last year but yet again, the mineral water is not flowing into the two hotels that provide the service.

Kiefer, speaking on behalf of the hotel owners, said she would like a study to determine the current status on the system.

"Yes, there's no money but find the money," she said. "Be leaders, be people who believe in this lake who let nothing stand in their way and find the money and at least start with the feasibility study."

Kiefer added many people are returning to using natural resources and remedies and could bring more interest to the lake in the future.

According to Soap Lake Mayor Raymond Gravelle, the 2011 revenue for the city from the mineral water system was only $7,741. The system repair in December cost about $7,000.

With slim chances of obtaining funds for system repairs, residents thought of other alternatives, including building a public pool filled with the mineral water or having a truck to transport the water to the hotels and citizens wanting the water in their homes. Citizens were also interested in finding out what the mineral content level is at in the lake, as past studies show the minerals are less abundant than in the past.

Allan Peterson, business development manager at the Grant County Economic Development Council, added the use of a mineral water delivery truck may gain interest from surrounding communities that may want the water.

At the end of the almost two-hour long workshop, the city council was able to establish an initial list of priorities for the future, including determining what is wrong with the current system, sending out a community survey and creating a citizen committee to move forward with possible solutions.

Gravelle added the ideas from the workshop were just what he wanted to ensure the unique tradition of the Soap Lake water.

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