After completing a study of the current wastewater treatment plant in Storm Lake, which was originally built over twenty years ago, operator Veenstra and Kimm identified at least nine improvement projects they feel the City of Storm Lake needs to address. Some of the projects are short term and need to be addressed immediately said Bob Veenstra. Other projects can wait and be more longer term.
Replacement of underground electrical cabling is one project the company says is needed now. According to Veenstra over the years water has gotten too close to the conduit and caused some deterioration. Some of the cables have shorted out, Veenstra added. "That's been an ongoing issue for years - I think it's finally coming to a head."
There have also been concerns with some of the hydraulic mixers and the age of the equipment and says typically you should be able to get 20 years out of them, however, the mixers have been used longer. "They've really come to the end of their life," he says. Part of the improvement projects will be to replace them with mechanical mixers. The estimated costs for the improvements are $885,000.
Veenstra also proposed some improvements needed for the 13th Street Lift Station which would include modifications to the pumps to improve capacity and extending force mains at the 13th Street location to a location south of the Memorial Lift Station. Veenstra said this would allow the bypass of Memorial when flows from 13th St. are too high allowing more control of flow and reduce the load currently put on the Memorial Lift Station. The estimated cost of the improvements to the lift station and force main is $1.4 million.
Veenstra says the projects are necessary to treat the wastewater adequately and meet with both EPA and DNR standards. Veenstra anticipates the short term projects to begin in the spring. The Council also passed a resolution to submit an application for State Revolving Fund loans which the City must apply for by September 1 to be eligible for funds.
In other council action:
* In June 2006 the City of Storm Lake implemented a set utility deposit for people moving into rental units, when the City met Monday they are passed a resolution to increase the utility deposit rate from $130 to $160. The rate was previously updated in 2004. The new rate will become effective on September 15, 2008 to allow the City to contact home owners and renters. The new change is for residential renters only, not corporate and is figured on quarterly yearly average of use of water, sanitary sewer, storm water and landfill use of all residents. The new deposit rate will affect any new renters who sign up for water service in the City limits.
The new rate will not affect those who currently have a deposit with the City unless they move to a new rental unit, the new rate will not affect those who own their own home and will not affect those who have signed a guarantee with the landlord.
* The City passed a resolution with a change order for the Storm Lake Airport Lot Rehabilitation Project. The change order includes the cost of installation of a new drainage culvert which would be installed under the entrance to the airport on C65. The City Council became aware of the possibility of a need for a drainage culvert this summer to help move storm water further west. City Clerk Justin Yarosevich says they hope this will solve the drainage issues at the airport and keep the water out of the new parking area when the rehabilitation project is completed. Yarosevich says the Airport commission has reviewed the report and are in favor of it.
Buena Vista County requested to purchase an easement from the City for additional ditch space for an upcoming expansion project to C65. The cost of the change order is $6,233.50 making the total project costs costing at almost $160,000, however, the project is a grant funded project with entitlement funds from the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA supports the project by 95 percent and Yarosevich says they have indicated their support for the change order. The City's out of pocket cost is estimated at costing $311.18.
* The City also approved a resolution to approve an application for State Revolving Funds for a water line loop on the southeast side of the Southeast Water Line Loop. The construction is expected to begin next year sometime. The project is supposed to assist with improving water levels during heavy demand, add minimal water loss during a water main break and help improve chlorine residuals. The estimated cost of the project including engineering, legal and administrative costs is $705,920.
* The City passed the second reading of an ordinance that will change the speed limit on a portion of Flindt Drive and Milwaukee Avenue to provide speed consistency and improve traffic safety. Public Safety Director Mark Prosser said he has not received any comment on the ordinance as of August 18.
* The City adopted an ordinance requesting downtown businesses to put benches and flower pots on the sidewalks outside of their businesses.
Due to the Labor Day holiday the next Storm Lake City Council Meeting will be held Tuesday, Sept. 2.