The Port of Quincy and food processors took a step forward this week toward starting a project to sell wastewater to irrigators.

Food processors in Quincy produce wastewater that they currently discharge into the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s canal, but they will no longer be able to do so after September, 2022. The companies, with help from the port, are now looking to use that wastewater for irrigation and two of three companies, Lamb Weston and Quincy Foods, have signed an agreement with the port to assist in looking for funding sources, Port Commissioner Brian Kuest said.

“As the port moves forward with potential financing for this project, industry has committed themselves to participate and they will ultimately, through assessments, will pay for the project,” Kuest said.

One of the food processors, Amway, still needs to sign the agreement, he said.

The project will involve the port putting in a pipeline that runs north of town and building a large storage pond to hold the water during winter months. This plan may also require the water to be filtered before distribution.

The next step in the process is to look at design, cost estimates and work with the state Department of Ecology on permitting, Kuest said. Landau Associates — an environmental, geotechnical and permitting company — is working with the port on this analysis.

The port still needs to find a place to store the water over the winter when irrigators won’t need it, he said. It is working with a private landowner who might be interested in leasing land for it to be stored. The state Department of Ecology is also involved in approving that site.

The pond may need to hold as much as one billion gallons of water or 1,514-Olympic-sized swimming pools.