By Lori Newman
The Deer Creek City Council held its regular monthly meeting on Dec. 20.
Anthony Maule from Bolton and Menk Engineering attended the meeting and provided the council with an evaluation of the city water system, including many photos of problem areas and recommendations for improvements.
The well house is “extremely corroded” and the piping needs to be replaced. Ventilation in the building also needs to be improved, and the water treatment chemicals need to be stored in a separate location or have secondary containers. The cost for upgrades to the well house is estimated to be $127,000.
Recommended maintenance and repair on the water tower includes sandblasting and full replacement of all the coatings along with minor structural improvements, and the cost is estimated at $297,000.
Upgrades to the water distribution system include replacement of old 4” and 6” asbestos cement pipes with 6” or larger Polyvinyl Chloride Pipes, and looping of dead end pipes to promote water flow and prevent stagnation. The cost estimate of this project is $2.4 million.
Maule said not all the work needs to be done right away, but the well house project is top priority, and budgeting for the work and consultation with a financial advisor should begin now. Possible low interest loan funding sources for the needed improvements include the Minnesota Drinking Water Revolving Fund or USDA Rural Development Programs. To determine eligibility for grants or loans, both organizations would consider the size of the city, median incomes of the city’s residents, “affordability” of the projects and potential health hazards involved.
Maule noted that the city’s water distribution lines were installed in the 1960s and are nearing the end of their life expectancy. Asbestos cement pipes can present a health hazard once they began to deteriorate, but Water/Wastewater Operator Dan Kovar said recent tests have shown the city’s water does not have high levels of asbestos.
Maule also noted the removal and disposal of asbestos cement pipes can be a labor intensive and expensive process and sometimes it works better to just leave them in the ground undisturbed.
The council decided to apply for funding for all of the water system projects right away and then try to do the work in phases as money and opportunities become available.
Lance Wohlwend stopped by later in the meeting to report that the Deer Creek Lions Club would help with the cost of a new lawn mower for the city and also with the cost of repairs to the east side of the community center building.
The council decided to raise the rate for rental of the large room in the community center to $200 for future reservations.
Councilor Dan Hendershot reported he had filled the holes in the alley behind the community center with crushed asphalt and that seems to be working well for now.
Councilor Jayme George had some questions about service and maintenance of the old city lawn mower, which will be used to mow the Shockers’ baseball field next summer.
City Clerk/Treasurer Tom Parish reported over 65 bags of goodies had been given to area kids during the recent Santa Day event in town and Mayor Troy Beiswenger thanked everyone who helped with the Santa Day activities.