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Harmony flooding problem linked to faulty manholes

Fri, Aug 15th, 2008
Posted in Government

HARMONY - Harmony resident Louise Sikkink was at the August 12, 2008, City Council meeting to hear about what has been done to fix problems with the sewer system on the north end of town. Sikkink and others had sewers back-up into their homes during a heavy rainstorm in June.

City Employee Chris Johnson said that he and engineers from Bonestroo did a smoke test in that part of town and found a manhole in a ditch near the Industrial Park where smoke was billowing out of the ground. There were also two small holes at Harmony Enterprises. According to Johnson, Bonestroo was very satisfied that these areas would let more than enough water into the sanitary sewer to max out the pumps. They are ordering new concrete chimneys that should fix the problem within the next month.

Johnson added that all of the pumps in the area were checked and everything was in working order. Council member Gerry Shuck asked if any of the mains had been televised for problems and Johnson replied that Bonestroo didn't think it would be necessary.

Sikkink asked who should be notified if there are any problems in the future. Johnson said she could call him at any time. When the city offices are called, there is an emergency number to call, which is Johnson's cell phone number. On the weekends, either Johnson or two other employees are on call.

Johnson admitted that on the day of the storm they should have started pumping earlier than they did. He was out of town that weekend, and the dialers on the pumps did not work to call someone when the water gets too high. They used a water pump from the fire department to pump water for several hours on that Sunday evening.

The emergency committee that was formed had recommended the city purchase its own trash pump, as the fire pump is supposed to be used for water only. The council approved the purchase of a pump through Kingsley Mercantile for $1,595. According to Johnson, it can pump 354 gallons a minute.

Electrical Upgrades

The city had received estimates from Morem Electric for proposed electrical upgrades in both Selvig Park and the Hobo Park. City Administrator Jerome Illg said the city has been providing temporary electric service for vendors in the park during the Fourth of July celebrations, which has cost the city anywhere from $800 to $1,100 each year. Morem Electric estimated a cost of $11,555 to put in permanent outlets in the park where vendors are located along the highway. Illg mentioned the Harmony Area Chamber of Commerce recommended they remain along the highway. Mayor Dave Kingsley is going to talk to Morem about a cheaper option of having one outlet and having others use an extension cord.

Earlier this summer there was some vandalism to the Hobo statues at the Trail Head Park, and Illg asked Morem for an estimate for a light to have there. The estimate was $2,300. Kingsley is also going to talk to Morem about a cheaper option for this.

Other Business

Illg updated the council on the Community Center projects. There was a pre-construction meeting on Monday, August 11 regarding the parking lot, and work will be starting on that soon. They are still working on paper work for the USDA loan for the Community Center building project.

The city accepted the donation of 50 feet of land from Fillmore Central. The school district recently learned that they owned part of the land near the campground that was believed to be owned by the city, and they deeded it back to the city.

The council approved a resolution to participate in a National Flood Insurance program, and approved the flood plain ordinance.

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