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Klein updates Armstrong Council on water and wastewater

August 8, 2014
By Michael Tidemann - Staff Writer , Estherville News

The City of Armstrong is seeing some immediate water and wastewater improvements, the city affidavit operator told the Armstrong City Council Monday night.

Brian Klein, who was hired to work toward DNR water and wastewater compliance, said the water softeners are back on and working in acceptable limits. He said that will help prevent cooper pipe corrosion.

Klein offered concerns if the city doesn't upgrade its wastewater system.

"If you dont' do anything the DNR's going to come down on you and fine you," said Klein, adding that the longer the city waits, the more the fine would be. "The DNR is not allowing these alternate designs (something the council has explored) to be put in."

Klein said lagoon modifications would start next week and if the city extended its basic aeration system it might be able to cut its primary cell in half.

Council member Jon Larsen asked Klein his opinion on the city's handling GKN wastewater.

"My opinion is if the city can handle it, great. What are you going to charge them. My opinion is they shouldn't be paying any less than any of the other businesses are paying."

Council member Adrian Hagebock said GKN was treating its wastewater and meeting current DNR specs before the water is discharged into the Des Moines east fork. "They're good for two years on their permit," he noted.

Later in the meeting, Russ Stammer of I&S Group, the engineering firm that did the city water and wastewater study, offered concerns about whether the city was on track to meet DNR compliance standards.

He said the city must submit a plan of action for sanitary plant upgrades by mid-December. He said the DNR was looking for the city to pick a schedule which the DNR would review.

He said the official plan of action is usually a two- to four-page report.

Typically, Stammer said cities have been allowed up to 42 months to start construction on a five-year permit and that the plan of action was the first step.

Stammer said the city's interest in new treatment systems coming out could face some challenges.

"There's a challenging process to get these approved," he said, adding that Iowa has stricter standards than surrounding states.

For now, Stammer said the DNR is looking for immediate repair of the existing treatment facility and that the city has already taken steps to address that. The city has been leaning toward going with a Lemna treatment system at an estimated cost of just under $3 million.

The council asked Stammer to set a meeting between city representatives and the DNR to work out a plan of action.

In other business, the council heard concerns from Nowell Gochanour about placement of the proposed Freedom Rock in city park.

"We have a really beautiful memorial there now," said Gochanour, adding that he didn't want to see the area cluttered.

Supervisor Jon Larsen said the group that wants the rock had said they wanted it in the northwest corner of the park, but that the area marked was closer to the center. He agreed with Gochanour that park space was limited.

The council to review the proposed location of the Freedom Rock before making a decision.

Gochanour was also concerned about dead and damaged trees.

The council discussed putting a manhole in an alley along Ninth Street between First and Second Avenues to cleanout storm sewers.

In other business the council:

n Noted the pool will close Aug. 16.

n Discussed street repairs and Diagonal maintenance.

n Discussed a $44,690 bid for painting the old water tower. Council members agreed to wait until next year when the money will be in the budget.

n Agreed to hire Mike Fries as maintenance supervisor at $14.17 an hour or $29,490 a year.



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