City council tours aging water treatment plant

Photo by Chad Koenen
The Henning City Council toured the Henning Water Treatment plant last week as it weighs the next step to make necessary repairs or replace the facility. The treatment plant opened in 2002.

By Chad Koenen


An expansive water treatment facility project will begin as soon as late 2023. 

During a special city council meeting on Wednesday night, members of the city council toured the Henning Water Treatment Facility near the Henning School. The facility originally opened 20 years ago and city engineers have said many of the components of the facility have reached the end of their useful life. As a result, the city council has been presented with three options, including rehabilitating the facility to serve the community for another 20 years, as well as constructing a new water treatment plant.

As part of the tour, city council members were shown how the water treatment system works, as well as some issues that are in dire need of updates and repairs. 

The estimated cost to rehabilitate and make the necessary repairs at the water plant is estimated to be just over $3.3 million. Should the city construct a new water treatment facility the cost would be just under $9 million for a new filtration and softening plant, or $7.5 million for a plant that does not soften the water. 

During its regularly scheduled meeting on Feb. 16., Bob Schlieman of Apex Engineering, said due to the cost and overall condition of the plant, the recommendation was to rehabilitate the water treatment plant. The hope is funding options like grants and low interest loans could be available to help offset a portion of the overall cost. 

Among the proposed improvements will be raw water well improvements, rehab filters, rehab ION exchange softening system, rehab the high service pumps, improve chemical feed systems, architectural building improvements like recruiting the walls and replacing the roof the building, installing new HVAC system and dehumidifiers, improve electrical/control systems and adding a pressure sustaining value on the transmission line to Ottertail. 

  If the city were to move forward with the project, construction could begin as soon as December 2023 and the substantial completion date would be April 2025. The time line revolves around how quickly the city makes a decision on the project, as well as the availability of products and materials.

In addition to the water treatment facility, the city council heard from councilman Jesse Hermanson about the Employee Retention Credit program. Hermanson has heard reports about the program that provides tax credits to businesses that have five or more employees who worked during the COVID-19 pandemic. The city staff will look into the program to see if the city qualifies for the program.