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Blue Earth looks at water plant

BLUE EARTH — The Blue Earth City Council discussed upgrades to the city’s water treatment facility, which could include a water softening system.

Kris Swanson, of Bolton and Menk, presented a lengthy Water Treatment Study, which the council accepted and authorized to be sent to the Minnesota Pollution Control Authority (MPCA).

Part of the study includes how to institute a water softening system which would help reduce the amount of sodium chloride going into the city’s wastewater treatment plant, which the MPCA says needs to happen.

Swanson presented three options. One was to rehabilitate the west city water treatment plant. The cost is estimated to be between $3 million to $4 million.

Adding in a lime soda ash water softening system would take the cost of the project to between $11.5 million to $14.5 million. However, adding a reverse osmosis system instead would not be as costly with the increase of that project estimated at $6 million to $8 million.

Swanson added that the city could qualify for a grant for 80 percent of up to $7 million of the cost of the reverse osmosis system, or as much as $5.6 million. That would make it the most economically feasible to do.

“This would be a positive project for the community,” Swanson said. “People will notice a water quality difference and they will see savings from needing less salt for softeners.”

Plus, he added, the water treatment plant would be improved and there would be less sodium chloride going into the wastewater plant.

In other business at the meeting, the council:

— Spent some time discussing the Bartel Drive portion of this summer’s 10th and Nicollet Streets Project.

The council debated options for doing a sanitary sewer line through a side yard area or down the street itself.

The plan had been to just do a mill and overlay of the street, but issues were found with the sewer line, which goes under several homes along the street.

The council voted to go with putting the sewer line down the street itself, and also to have residents invited to an informational session at the next council meeting, set for Monday, March 15.

— Voted to go with Kato Roofing of Mankato for doing annual inspections of all the roofs on city-owned buildings. It was the lowest of three bids at $4,500.

— Discussed hiring a person for a new position of Community Service Officer for code enforcement.

The part-time position would handle the enforcement of code violations such as blighted areas, unmowed lawns, junk cars and unshoveled sidewalks.

— Approved having boring tests of the ground under the tennis courts at Putnam Park, to see what the condition of the subsoil is. This would be a first step in a proposed tennis court rebuild project.

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