The Lake Chelan Reclamation District began its organization in October 1919 and eventually acquired by deed the assets of its private corporate predecessor the Lake Chelan Water Company. The District was adjudged organized on May 1, 1920 and embraced approximately 6,860 acres of which 4,359 were classified as irrigable. The assets included a 14-mile collection system from Big Grade Creek to Antilon Reservoir, a partially completed distribution system and a lower reservoir at Wapato Lake.
The domestic water system was purchased by the District from J. R. Laycock in February 1922. The system served primarily the original town site of Manson. The lack of high quality groundwater in the area led the domestic service area to expand over the years to serve a significantly larger area. Major expansions were done in 1974 and 1982 to bring the service area up to its present size. A water treatment plant was constructed in 1998.
Sanitary sewers were first installed in the Manson area in 1946. Primary treatment and disinfection prior to discharge into Manson Bay was performed until 1975. In 1975 the Manson Chelan Sewer Interceptor was constructed and sewage was pumped to the wastewater treatment plant in the City of Chelan with the effluent discharged into the Columbia River. The Lake Chelan Reclamation District took over all sewage collection services in the Manson area in 1979 with responsibilities increased in 1994 when the District took over the Interceptor between Manson and Rocky Point. Lake Chelan Reclamation District is one of only two irrigation districts in the State of Washington that provides sanitary sewer services.
Irrigation has remained the primary focus of the Lake Chelan Reclamation District over the years. The irrigation system was rebuilt in 1971 1975 with the help of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The project was constructed to provide pressurized irrigation water to all the growers on the system. The District is the operating agent for the federally owned project. The system includes 73 miles of pipelines in the distribution system together with 10 miles of drains, 13 pumping plants and 13 reservoirs.
The possibilities of irrigated agriculture and speculative land sales in the Manson area were recognized by in the early 1900's. The Wapato Irrigation Company was incorporated on April 21, 1906 with the purpose of developing an irrigation works for commercial uses together with buying and selling the adjacent lands. Between 1906 and 1911 the Wapato Irrigation Company had purchased 1,351 acres of land from Wapato Allottee Indians and had filed for water rights on 12 creeks and lakes. They had hired engineers and constructed about 6 miles of main distribution canal from the reservoir now known as Wapato Lake.
On February 10, 1910 the assets of the Wapato Irrigation Company were purchased by the Lake Chelan Land Company. On June 9, 1911 the Lake Chelan Land Company conveyed the water rights and all the irrigation works to the Lake Chelan Water Company to handle all matters pertaining to its construction and operation. The Lake Chelan Land Company could then confine its activities wholly to the acquisition and sale of irrigable lands.
By 1916 the two companies were both extended to the utmost financially. The Lake Chelan Irrigation District was formed in 1917 for the expressed purpose of acquiring the irrigation works from the Lake Chelan Water Company. The two organizations were unable to come to terms due the bankruptcy litigation of the Lake Chelan Land Company. The Lake Chelan Irrigation District was subsequently dissolved in February of 1919.
The Lake Chelan Reclamation District began its organization in October 1919 and eventually acquired by deed the assets of the Lake Chelan Water Company. The District was adjudged organized on May 1, 1920 and embraced approximately 6,860 acres of which 4,359 were classed as irrigable. Approximately 1,198 of those acres were being irrigated at the time. The assets included a 14 mile collection system from Big Grade Creek to Antilon Reservoir. Antilon Reservoir had a storage capacity of 1130 acre feet. Assets also included a partially completed distribution system and the Wapato Lake Reservoir.
During the years from 1920 to 1940 the Lake Chelan Reclamation District accumulated considerable debt to expand and complete the system. The District had to overcome periods of drought and the necessity to rebuild sections destroyed by fire. Heavy reliance was placed on Washington State's Reclamation Revolving Fund during these years and at one point the debt reached approximately $500,000. Repayment was begun in the early 1940's and continued until 1961 when the final payment was made to the state.
In 1955 the US Bureau of Reclamation was asked to investigate the expansion and rehabilitation of the District. Studies between 1956 and 1960 investigated options of rehabilitating the gravity collection and distribution systems together with enlarging Antilon Lake to a capacity of 9,000 acre feet. The expanded system would serve up to 5,770 acres as compared to presently served acres totaling 4,365.
The application to be part of the Chief Joseph Dam Irrigation project was authorized by Congress in 1966. New studies evaluated the feasibility of rebuilding the system through pumping and storage facilities from Lake Chelan. In June of 1969 the first appropriation for construction was approved by Congress for the pumping and storage facilities alternative. The total project cost for the system was $18,778,000 with completion occurring in 1975. The system includes 73 miles of pipelines in the distribution system together with 10 miles of drains, 13 pumping plants and 13 reservoirs. A total area of 6,336 acres is served by the system.
A domestic water system in the town of Manson was originally constructed and privately owned by J.R. Laycock sometime around 1910. Negotiations between the Lake Chelan Reclamation District and Mr. Laycock to purchase the system began in May of 1920 with a final settlement price of $2,289 being paid in February of 1922.
The Lake Chelan Reclamation District made many improvements and expansions to the system between 1922 and 1971. A study undertaken in October 1971 indicated that the Manson Intake was at capacity to meet peak daily demands with no capacity for fire flows during peak demand periods. The two 400 gpm pumps would run nearly continuously for 24 hours and the 150,000-gallon reservoir had no storage for fire flows during July and August. Much of the distribution system was undersized for providing fire flows with many dead end lines.
The rebuilding of the irrigation system in 1971-1975 gave the District an opportunity to lay several miles of domestic water lines into the rural areas. Domestic lines were laid in the same trench as the irrigation distribution lines under construction. District crews were utilized to accomplish this task, and in doing so, expanded the service area quite significantly. In 1974, the Lake Chelan Reclamation District constructed a second domestic intake called the Lakeshore Intake. The new pump station contained two pumps with a combined capacity of 1,300 gallons per minute. The station was located on District property that had been used historically to pump supplementary irrigation water into the old irrigation system. The District abandoned the irrigation station and used the station's 24-inch discharge line for the new Lakeshore Intake. Water was pumped through the 24-inch steel line to a new 1.0 million-gallon reservoir located adjacent to Summit Avenue.
In 1982 the Manson Intake was rebuilt to include three pumps with a total capacity of 3,000 gallons per minute. A new 16-inch discharge line was installed and in 1985 a new 1.0 million-gallon reservoir was constructed above Division Street. By 1990 over 45 miles of distribution system served customers in the greater Manson area.
In 1991, the Washington State Department of Heath directed the Lake Chelan Reclamation District to begin planning for a Water Treatment Plant to filter the domestic supplies coming from Lake Chelan. Studies were undertaken to determine if it was more efficient to combine the intakes for the District with the City of Chelan and build only one treatment plant. The study concluded that it would be more cost effective to build a plant at each location. In 1997 construction began on a four million gallon per day treatment plant together with pipelines and other appurtenances to bring untreated water from both the Manson Intake and the Lakeshore Intake to the treatment plant located near the Manson Reservoir. Construction included a new 1.25 million gallon finished water reservoir. Total cost of the project completed in 1999 was $7.4 million dollars.
Sanitary sewers were first installed in the Manson area in the year 1946. The downtown business district had been served by septic tanks and drain fields up to that time. The business association took it upon themselves to form the Manson Sewer Company and installed the first collection system down the back alleys of the downtown business district. Septic tanks were installed near the corner of Manson Boulevard and Pedoi Street to collect the sewage wastes and to treat them with chlorine. A six-inch steel pipe outfall was constructed to dispose of the treated wastes in Manson Bay. The 1,000-foot outfall pipeline was connected to the septic tank, plugged on one end and floated out to its proposed alignment. The plug was pulled and the outfall was sunk into place. The Manson Sewer Company later expanded to serve the Methodist Church and a small residential area around MacLaren and Nequelikin Streets.
The Manson School District followed the lead of the Manson Sewer Company and built their own sewage disposal system in the early 1950's. They laid a six-inch wood stave pipeline from the school property down Totem Pole Road to a tank installed on Olive Avenue. Sewage was treated at septic tanks at each school and discharged into the wood line. A six-inch steel line went straight down the hill from the tank to a separate six-inch steel outfall in Manson Bay.
The newest sewer entity in the Manson area was Manson Sewer District. Manson Sewer District was formed in June 1953 under Title 56 to serve residential lands adjacent to the downtown business district. The formation of a sewer district allowed the town site area to build a large infrastructure and finance it by selling ULID bonds. The largest percentage of the Manson Sewer District system was built in 1954 by ULID bonds. Sewage was collected to a central location near the corner of Manson Boulevard and Bell Streets. A large septic tank system was built for primary treatment together with chlorinating facilities for disinfection. A third outfall was constructed to dispose of the treated sewage into Manson Bay.
In July 1970, directives were issued by the Washington State Department of Ecology to the three entities operating the sewerage facilities and discharging into Lake Chelan. The entities were told to substantially improve the quality of their sewage effluent being discharged to advanced sewage treatment standards or to eliminate the discharge altogether.
The three small entities with no paid staff did not have the wherewithal to deal with this issue. A preliminary engineering study was done for the Lake Chelan Water Quality Association, a group of citizens in the Manson area, which concluded that a sewage lagoon providing secondary treatment and discharging the effluent to Lake Chelan offered the least expensive treatment. The new water quality standards however required advanced treatment for all sewage discharges to Lake Chelan. This made the studied alternative of local treatment impractical.
In March 1971 Chelan County did a Comprehensive Water and Sewer Plan for all of Chelan County. The plan recommended that Chelan County government was in the best position to develop water and sewer systems in areas where there was a need. The plan offered three alternatives for sewage disposal in the Chelan Basin. The preferred alternative provided for installing a sewer interceptor from Manson to the primary sewage treatment plant in the City of Chelan. The County proceeded with developing a Facilities Plan under section 201 (c) EPA guidelines. The plan was completed in June of 1974 and made the county sewer system eligible for 75% federal grants together with 15% state grants in total assistance.
As part of an agreement with Chelan County the Manson Sewer Company and the Manson School District were annexed into the Manson Sewer District and dissolved. Chelan County was then able to contract with a single entity in Manson. Contracts were also executed with large developers including Wapato Point, MA-8 and Lake Chelan Shores to fund the 10% local match and to collectively contract for treatment services with the City of Chelan. The facilities were in operation by late 1976.
On January 1, 1979 Manson Sewer District officially dissolved and conveyed all it assets and facilities to the Lake Chelan Reclamation District. In the 1980's the service area was expanded to include several outlining areas. During this time period the District service area began to intermix with the Chelan County service area. In the early 1990's the Lake Chelan Reclamation District began negotiations with Chelan County on taking over the Manson-Chelan Sewer Interceptor. Agreement was reached in May 1994 and ownership of the interceptor lines and pumps were conveyed to both the City of Chelan and Lake Chelan Reclamation District with a dividing line at Rocky Point.