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home : news : news Friday, April 29, 2016

6/20/2012 Email this articlePrint this article 
Low Moor to seek bids for lagoon cleanup

By Jeremy Huss
Staff writer

Low Moor water and wastewater superintendent Mark Roode will seek bids to clean up the city's old sewage lagoon now that the new wastewater system is online and a "sludge judge" has examined the waste material that remained in the lagoon.

At the June 5 meeting of the Low Moor City Council, Roode said sludge testing completed by QC Analytical Services of LeClaire cost the city $1,856.57, several hundred dollars under the estimate, and delivered data that "is much different than the previous sludge judge from 10 years ago."

The examination was necessary to determine the depth and material composition of the sludge in order to seek bids to have it removed and land-applied, Roode said. While the city is not required by law to remove the sludge, Roode is investigating the cost in order to be a good steward of the land. He told the council in April he'd prefer to remove the sludge now to ensure a future dike failure won't result in the release of pollutants into Rock Creek.

The "sludge judge" determined the average depth of the material is just 6 inches, less than Roode had anticipated since an examination 10 years ago estimated the average depth at one foot.

The examination also included sampling to determine the volume of chemicals present in the material, such as arsenic, mercury, ammonia, phosphorous, nitrogen and various metals.

If the sludge is not removed, Roode said the city's other options are to drain the lagoon and leave it as is or to attempt to restore it to a natural state.

There is no time limit to take action, Roode said.

Roode said he wants to have cost estimates in hand before making a decision on how to proceed.

"If it's cost prohibitive, we may want to leave it," he said.

However, Roode added, one reason to remove the sludge is in case a proposal for Low Moor to provide the water supply for the Clinton railport and industrial park ever comes to fruition.

That would require a new well, Roode said, and wells by law cannot be located near a wastewater lagoon due to contamination concerns.

Officials with the Clinton Regional Development Corp. made the proposal several years ago, and the city completed a study of its water system to determine the feasibility, but the idea has stalled since then.

"It might be cheaper and easier to do it now in case the water for the industrial park comes to fruition," Roode said.

Iowa American Water, which provides water service in Clinton, has indicated it is not willing to extend infrastructure to serve the industrial park.

Larkey proposes building

improvements at city hall

The council discussed but took no action on a proposal from council member Brenda Larkey to purchase computers for the city clerk and treasurer and remodel city hall to provide offices for city employees.

Currently, city clerk Karen Roode and treasurer Judy Meland use personal computers to store city data and work out of their homes. City hall consists of a small meeting room, a garage and space for the city well and water distribution system.

Larkey said Roode's and Meland's personal computers are running slow because of all the city data on them. She proposed replacing them with dedicated city computers and establishing formal offices and regular office hours for the clerk and treasurer at the city hall building.

"I would like to see everything condensed here and located at city hall and have a real city hall," Larkey said.

"It's something we need to research," she added.

The council discussed the option of removing filing cabinets currently in the meeting room area and expanding to the garage to provide room for offices as well as a council chamber.

"Low Moor's got to be one of the few communities that still operates out of someone's home," commented Mark Roode.

Windstream request for

underground boring denied

Roode reported he has yet to hear back from a subcontractor working for Windstream Communications after the city refused permission to bury underground cable on city property.

Windstream has requested permission to install underground cable that would go under the city park and several streets.

Roode said the request was denied because of problems with a previous underground boring project.

The city has no accurate utility maps, he explained, so it has no way to determine if the proposed work will damage water and wastewater infrastructure.

"I'm afraid they would rip up services to homes because we don't know where they are because maps are very out of date and old," Roode said.

Roode said the last time the city approved such a request it ended up costing $3,000 because a subcontractor dug too deep and damaged a service connection.

The subcontractor refused to pay for the repair because the location of utilities was not marked on the sidewalk, and the city had to eat the cost.

"So because of that bad experience, I said no. We don't have the staff to monitor it," Roode said.

Other business

•Approved a payment of $50 to Cliff Stevens for fuel costs associated with excavating holes for the city's new playground equipment.

•Noted the annual Low Moor Car Show will be held the week after Low Moor Days instead of on the same weekend due to a scheduling conflict.

•Approved a payment of $1,474.50 to IIW Engineers and Surveyors for final inspection of the wastewater distribution system.

•Approved a $300 payment to Brent Holstein for the city's portion of the cost of upgrades to the baseball diamond.

•Approved the transfer of $50,000 from the sewer fund to the general fund. The money was transferred out of the general fund last year to cover costs associated with the city's wastewater project.

•Reviewed the monthly report from the sheriff's office, showing deputies spent 53.4 hours patrolling Low Moor April 26-May 25. Deputies issued six warnings and two citations, answered six calls and handled two incidents.

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