MPCA issues city a discharge permit for well water

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 8/18/98.

The city of Paynesville started discharging benzene contaminated water from well number four, behind city hall, into the North Fork Crow River on Aug. 6.

Ron Mergen, public works director, informed the city council at their Wednesday night meeting, the MPCA had issued the city a permit on July 27.

ďWith exposure to air, the contam-ination will probably be about one or two parts per billion having little or no impact on the river by time it gets there from the city well,Ē Mergen said. The last test on well four showed the contamination level at 3.5 parts per billion.

Jim McArthur had informed Mergen that the city can expect to discharge into the river anywhere from six months to three years or longer. The city will be pumping between 150 to 200 gallons of contaminated water per minute into the storm sewer.

ďIf the water clears up, we could start reusing the well again, but probably not to full capacity,Ē Mergen told the council.

A new well was drilled into the heart of the contaminated plume area beside Caseyís last week. ďThis highly contaminated water will be pumped into the sanitary sewer system where it can be treated,Ē Mergen said. The new well (60 feet deep) by Caseyís tested at 1,500 parts per billion. McArthur told Mergen they will pump out the contaminated water into the sanitary sewer system until the plume wonít have an impact on wells five and six located east of the city. Mergen said this could possibly be three years or longer.

The council approved replacing the 40 horsepower motor on well number four with a 10 horsepower motor, a savings of $828 per month.

The contaminated water was discovered last November in well number four. At that time, it tested 16 parts per billion. It is believed the contamination was due to leaks over the years at the former gas station at the intersection of Mill Street and Lake Street.

Contamination was also found at well number three by the city shop on Railroad Street. The MPCA recom-mended that in order to keep city wells number five and six from being contaminated, well number three should continue to be pumped as a reduced rate.

Street project...
With the summer fast coming to a close, the Paynesville City Council was told the 1998 street improvement project should be completed by Friday (Aug. 14).

Pete Carlson, city engineer, informed the council the wear course (second layer) of bituminous had been placed on all the streets but two, prior to their Wednesday night meeting. ďThe sod is doing well,Ē Carlson told the council. ďThe weather has been kind to us in addition to the residents watering the sod well.Ē Carlson said the next step was to prepare a preliminary assessment roll and set a public hearing date.

Debt management...
Monte Eastvold of Juran and Moody Investment counselors, reviewed the cityís 11 bond issues. ďThe city will have the opportunity to reduce the tax levies in the future,Ē Eastvold told the council. ďYour debt is not high in comparison to other cities your size.Ē Many of the bonds have a surplus in their cash flow which will be beneficial in paying off other bonds early.

In other business:
ēThe council appointed Ron Iverson, Sr. to the planning commission to replace Armon Kaehler, who resigned.

ēThe council approved hiring Boyd Hengel and Dave Lange as new firefighters on the Paynesville Fire Department.

ēThe council set Monday, Sept. 14 at 6:30 p.m., as a public hearing on the proposed Tax Increment Financing District 1-8 for Louis Industries.

ēThe council approved a letter of understanding between Paynesville Township, city of Paynesville and the Paynesville-New London-Spicer Hockey Association dealing with financial responsibility to the facility for the next 40 years. With the addition of artificial ice at the ice arena, the new agreement would have the city paying $7,000 yearly to the township. The city presently pays $3,500 per year.

ēThe council approved increasing the retirement benefits from $800 to $1,000 per year for the Paynesville Fire Department Relief Association. It has been seven years since the last increase.

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