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Council hears possible water solutions

Fri, Apr 18th, 2003
Posted in Features

The Water Utility System Analysis Report presented by Bill Chang of BDM was the focal point of the Rushford City Council meeting on Monday, April 14. Chang first detailed some recent improvements to the water system of the city such as the new well #4, a new water reservoir, the rehabilitation of well #2, and the use of polyphosphate sequencing to deal with the problem of red water.

Chang then moved on to delineate water problems facing the city. The new well #4 has too much radium; the Department of Health requires compliance with their suggested radium levels by December of 2007. Options offered and dismissed were a water treatment plant for radium with a price tag of $775,000, or a blending of water from wells #3 and #4 at a cost of $20,000, with no assurance of the water being in compliance. Chang recommended the third option of using well #4 as an emergency well only. As such, the well would not have to meet compliance standards; this solution would not cost the city anything.

The pesky red water problem that has plagued parts of the city was discussed next. Explaining that chlorine causes iron to oxidize and turn the water red, Chang pointed to dead end water lines as the cause of red water problems. Currently polyphosphates are used to keep the iron hidden in the water. When the water sits, the polyphosphates begin to break down and allow the chlorine and iron to oxidize.

Using a computer generated water system model, Chang, and his associate Jim Stremel, showed several scenarios of the water system. One scenario presented included a recirculating pump and looping of water mains with a price of $140,000, once chlorination and polyphosphate equipment were added on. A new fifth well (potential cost of $375,000) in the southern part of the city was shown as a possible solution in a second scenario.

Chang informed the council that Brooklyn’s well #2 is old and will eventually need to be replaced. Well #3, a sandy well, could get a new casing and be redeveloped as a shallower well at a cost of around $42,000.

Closing his presentation, Chang recommended the construction of a test well at the city garage. If the quality of its water was good, he suggested a new well in the southern area, looping it with the dead end lines. If the quality was bad, he suggested the addition of the inline recirculating pump and rehabilitation of well #3.

No action was taken by the council, as the presentation was for information only. The council thanked Mr. Chang for his water system analysis report.

Other Business

The council moved on to the other business on the agenda including:

• hearing that Larry Bartelson is researching ordinances relating to parking at the library;

• approving a proposal to paint lettering on the three new Rushford signs;

• passing a motion to direct staff to present a purchase order system plan for the city;

• setting April 28 at 7:30 as a public hearing date for the building code ordinance (contingent on favorable review from the Planning Commission);

• choosing hours, dates (May 15, 16 & 17), and fees for Spring Clean-up;

• electing Gordon Hatleli to another six-year term on the EDA;

• passing a resolution accepting SMIF’s (Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation’s) grant of technical assistance and committing to a partnering with SMIF in Citizens in Action


The article on the March 24th Rushford Council meeting stated that the council renewed a lease with Mediacom for $600/year for the tower property was incorrect. The council, in fact, turned the matter over to the city attorney for review.

Wanda Hanson can be contacted at

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