WSU engineering students’ design to help Anatone

For years, the 45 residents of the tiny town of Anatone in Asotin County have known they needed a solution to their sewage problems. But how?

Earlier this year, a group of residents wrote personal checks to allow a group of civil engineering students from Washington State University to help them out.

Working with a professional engineer and as part of their senior design project, the students designed a sewage collection, treatment and disposal system for the town. They also provided a detailed cost estimate for the project, and information on grant programs that the town can apply for to help offset the costs. The students will present their design and findings to area residents tonight at the Anatone Community Center at 7 p.m. in Anatone.

The residents of Anatone rely on antiquated septic systems, said Cheryl Sonnen, resource technician for the Asotin County Conservation District. The systems are built in poorly draining soils, possibly leaking into nearby Mill Creek, a steelhead-bearing creek. The town wanted to search for ways to comply with water quality regulations. Even applying for grants requires detailed design plans and cost estimates, which are normally costly.

Sonnen talked to a WSU alum, who told her about the college’s senior design projects. She then contacted Shane Brown, to get the project off the ground.

During the fall, the students came for a site visit and surveying. They also held a community meeting, presented three options to the area residents, and gathered feedback.

“This has been an outstanding group of students,” Sonnen said.

The students designed a project that hooks together the septic tanks and using gravity or low-pressure sewer lines, takes the effluent to a disposal drainfield about 1,000 feet north of town. The project also accounts for area growth. Students on the project are Kelsey Laughlin, Eric Ferguson, Dan McCracken and Tyler Dester. Brown is their advisor.

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