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Pound Addresses Water Quality, Supply Problems

Issue Date: December 2, 2020

Issues connected with radium found in one of the test samples of the village water supply and lack of backup for the sole well that supplies water for the utility were addressed at a special meeting of Pound Village Board on Monday, Nov. 30.

As a result, the board agreed to send Village President Terry Earley and Trustee Mary Meyer to a meeting of the Coleman Water and Sewer Utility on Monday, Jan. 11 to discuss the possibilities of options that could include having Pound purchase its water supply from the Coleman utility, or making that source available in case there is an interruption in Pound's water supply.

Aaron Patefield, who is manager of the Coleman Water and Sewer Utility and has been working temporarily in that capacity for Pound as well, advised the board that something needs to be done in response to a DNR notice that one of the four most recent tests of its water supply had amounts of radium that exceed the DNR limits, and also strongly urged that a backup water supply be identified for Pound. He said if Coleman is not interested in providing water the alternative would be for Pound to drill a new well. Right now, should the sole existing well fail, the alternative would be to have water trucked in.

Whether the answer is an additional well for Pound or an agreement to obtain obtain water from Coleman, timetable from planning to completion would take about five years, Patefield said.

He added that Pound water is currently within the safe limits, since it is an average of four tests that lead the DNR to take action.

Patefield explained Coleman had just finished correcting a problem it had encountered with radium in its wells. He said the problems are related to the geological age of the sandstone rock formations in this area that are breaking down due to natural bacterial action that releases radium into the water. If those sources can be sealed off, as they were for Coleman, the water supply is safe again.

Earley was unable to attend the December meeting of the Coleman Water and Sewer Utility, so decision was made to schedule that conversation for January. Early, who works in the utility field, wants to be involved in discussions involving the Pound utility.

Patefield predicted the Coleman utility board will not respond immediately to the questions from Pound. He said if they are willing to provide water for Pound a pipe could be run between the communities. He also said the Coleman water supply is sufficient to serve both.

In any case, Pound will need to pull its pump and get it rebuilt during the next year, Patefield advised. The board approved hiring KLM for $8,800 to do the water tower inspections for 10 years, from 2021 through 2031, and to hire Water Quality Investigations for not to exceed $4,500 a year to do the studies needed to determine the source of the radiation in the Pound well and recommend ways to correct it.

Clerk/Treasurer Diane Patz reported making a lot of phone calls to collect past due water and sewer bills. As a result they are down to a total of $10,348 in past due bills, compared with $19,262 at this time last year. There are a total of seven past due water bills and nine past due sewer bills still outstanding.

Patz noted they cannot do any disconnecting until April 15, but she can send advance notices that if the bills are not paid by then the service will be shut off. She also reported on participating in a rate study class put on by Public Service Commission and suggested they may want to consider doing a simplified rate study each year to cover costs and prevent having a large price one time price increase.


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