The City of Bingen celebrated a major victory after completing its annual Water Use Efficiency Report with the Washington State Depart-ment of Health.

In 2010, more than 50% of Bin-gen’s water was unaccounted for, either through leaks or faulty meter readings. For Mayor Betty Barnes and the City Council, that statistic was unacceptable and marked a turning point in how aggressively the City tackled the issue.

The City of Bingen made water leakage its top priority. The Public Works Department replaced several sections of old water lines, re-placed manually read meters with radio read meters and equipment, and staff worked to educate residents about leaks and water use.

In the subsequent years, Bingen has made enormous progress. The Department of Health has a state-wide mandate that cities should strive to lose no more than 10% of their water. The City of Bingen is down from its highest leakage at 53.7% to 3.9% currently. City officials are calling it “a massive ac-complishment.”

Bingen City Councilor Catherine Kiewit was part of the council that initially tackled the project.

“This is really something to celebrate,” Kiewit said. “I am well aware of the amount of effort it has been for our staff to take on a project of this magnitude and importance, not to mention duration. This has truly been a team effort and I credit this achievement to City Hall staff and our Public Works crew for their diligence.”

In a written statement, Kiewit expressed gratitude to Bingen Pub-lic Works Superintendent David Spratt and Public Works crew members Jay Hicks and Mike Solomon; City Clerk Cheyenne Willey and Deputy Clerk Dena Riggleman; Mayor Barnes; current City Councilors Isolde Schroder, Ryan O’Connor, Laura Mann, and Phil Jones; former City Council members Clinton Bryan, Guiller-mo Fisch, Sandy Dickey, Dan Arm-strong, Stephanie Porter; and former City Administrator Jan Bren-ding.

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