The city of College Place received an award for its new well, recognizing it as one of the most innovative and effective clean water and drinking water state revolving fund projects of 2019.

The award was announced Tuesday at College Place City Council’s virtual meeting by City Administrator Mike Rizzitiello, who also shared a video of a ceremony dedicating the well to the late Robert Gordon the city engineer who died in August at 59.

Gordon spent four years of his decade with the city on the project and did not see its completion in September because of his death from a heart attack.

The city held a small ceremony dedicating Well No. 4 to him. The well replaced Well No. 1, which failed in 2016.

“The fact that it wrapped up soon after what unfortunately happened, it definitely felt appropriate that it be named in his honor with all the work he put into it,” Rizzitiello said.

The city received the Well-Planned, Affordable, Transferable, Efficient, Resilient, or Sustainable Award for this project from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Gordon had a knack for finding outside money for capital projects and writing compelling grant applications, the city administrator said.

“He was very good at writing narratives and really explaining the story and building those connections with the state agencies where we were able to get outside funding, and that’s why we’re able to do this in a very cost effective manner.”

The well, a $4.2 million water project, will serve not only the residents of College Place but also Christ Community Fellowship, where Gordon was a Sunday school teacher. The well connects the church and Liberty Christian School to the municipal water system, according to the award report.

The city hired the on-call engineering firm JUB Engineers Inc. to fill in for Gordon’s responsibilities when needed until Public Works Director Paul Hartwig retires, and the position will be refashioned into both a Public Works director and city engineer position, Rizzitiello said.

Chloe LeValley can be reached at or 509-526-8326.

Chloe LeValley covers the cities of Walla Walla and College Place as well as agriculture and the environment in the Walla Walla Valley. She is a graduate of San Francisco State University and joined the Union-Bulletin's team in October 2019.

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