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Inflow and infiltration issues in Harmony

Fri, Jul 11th, 2014
Posted in Harmony Government

At the Harmony City Council meeting on July 8, city employee Chris Johnson brought a problem to the attention of the council. Johnson noted at the wastewater treatment plant, there has been high levels of water infiltrating from the ground.

While there is normally some amount of inflow and infiltration, the numbers have been double or triple the amount recently. The treatment plant treats an average of 55,000 gallons of water a day. The past couple of weeks, numbers have climbed to well over 100,000 gallons, and on one day in particular, 234,000 gallons were treated.

The heavy rains we have experienced this summer have played a part, and the levels spike shortly after a heavy rainfall. Johnson said they have been looking in manholes, and have two pumps running, but have barely been able to keep up with the high water levels.

The problem is finding where the water is leaking into the pipes. There are many areas in town that still have clay pipes. Johnson mentioned some smoke testing that was done a few years ago to find some problem areas. The city has also done televising in order to find leaks.

“This is a lot of water,” said Johnson. “There’s not going to be just one smoking gun.”

He also mentioned a large amount of grit clogging the pipes, made up of mostly sand and gravel. He doesn’t know where that is coming from, either.

City Administrator Jerome Illg offered some ideas to help narrow down the location. He suggested checking the lift station pump hours during rain and when the rain is done to help determine which part of town the excess water is coming from.


Stuart Morem of Morem Electric sent the city a proposal on purchasing a new siren system. The current system is still in working order, but is reaching the end of its lifetime.

The quote from Federal Signal Corporation was for $14,200, with another $6,000 for installation. This amount includes the pole it would be installed on. It was noted the siren has a battery back-up system in case of power outages. When a tornado hit Harmony a few years ago, the siren did not work.

Illg said Morem would like to see the city transition to this in the next few years. Money has been set aside each year in the budget, and there is currently $7,500 earmarked for a new siren. It would be located near the fire hall.

Illg also mentioned the old siren could be donated to a few smaller towns in the area that do not currently have a siren, such as Greenleafton and Granger. Those sirens would be operated from the Sheriff’s office.

Councilor Jerry Shuck suggested they get a couple more quotes on sirens. Mayor Donney suggested they move forward with the project sooner rather than later.


Eileen Schansberg told the council the ambulance department received a $22,000 grant to be put toward a monitored AED (Automated External Defibrillator) from the American Heart Association Mission: Lifeline. Schansberg explained this monitored AED will transmit information to St. Marys or Gundersen Lutheran so they know right away if a heart attack is happening.

Schansberg also requested the ambulance compensation be increased from $25 a day to $50 a day. She felt this would be an incentive to get more people to help cover when needed. The increase would cost $7,800 a year. The council approved.

1st Avenue Project

Financing for the 1st Avenue street project was discussed, and the council passed a resolution for the sale of General Obligation Bonds for $370,000. In September, notices of proposed assessments will be sent out to property owners. The final assessments will be adopted in October or November. Property owners currently have the option to pay assessments up front, or have the amount assessed to their property taxes for 10 years. The council decides the interest rate.

Illg updated the council on the street project. Things are moving along as planned, with water and services finished from Center to 3rd Street. Four water hydrants were replaced, with temporary water outages. Illg said the Harmony Telephone Company has been very helpful, making it easy to notify property owners.

Sidewalk snow removal

Illg brought up the question of snow removal on 1st Avenue after the project is complete. He mentioned the fact that the county is paying half of the cost of the project, which includes the sidewalk replacement, and they are concerned that nobody is removing the snow.

Right now the city removes snow on the sidewalk on the west side of 139 from the Lutheran Church to the nursing home, and from Wheelers to the Visitor’s Center. Illg was concerned about the city taking on any more snow removal commitments. He was also concerned about residents being upset that their sidewalk is not being shoveled when the sidewalks on another street are.

There was some discussion about the city taking on the shoveling on 1st Avenue Council members were in agreement about removing the snow from Center Street to 3rd Street on the west side, since students use them to walk to the high school.

The sidewalk from Center to 3rd Street is 5 feet wide. The sidewalk being replaced from 3rd to 5th Street on the west side is only 4 feet wide, which would be too narrow for the snow blower.


The city received some quotes for a new tractor from Hammel Equipment, Preston Equipment, and Windridge Equipment.

Johnson explained the old tractor is a 1999, and because of the hours on it and its age, needs to be replaced. The city accepted the bid from Hammel Equipment for $41,000 with a trade-in.


Councilor Lynn Mensink updated the council on the most recent library board meeting. They discussed the issue of at what point to stop letting people check out books when they have past-due fines. Mensink said they did not come up with an idea they could all agree on.

The library recently started charging fines for overdue books and movies. There is no set amount that is a maximum. Mensink said some members of the board do not wish to make it hard for people to use the library.

The council directed the library board to resolve the matter and come up with a final decision.


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6:54:19, Jul 16th 2014

what? says:
The school on 1st ave pushes there snow onto the street. And NO ONE in harmony clears the snow off there sidewalks. And which kids walk to school. They all drive even if the live 3 blocks away