Well rehabilitation in coming months

HMU says three of its wells will undergo rehab; will help water issues

    HARLAN -- Work could begin as early as late May or early June on the rehabilitating of three water wells owned by the Harlan Municipal Utilities followed by three more wells being restored in the next fiscal year.
    The HMU Board of Trustees approved a proposal Thursday, April 22 from Cahoy Pump Service, Sumner, IA, for the three well project at a cost of $49,800. This required a budget amendment to the current fiscal year. The other three wells at a total cost of $25,000 are already budgeted into the next fiscal year in the normal well maintenance budget.    
    “We have identified six wells that we could potentially go ahead and treat early. Three now and three in July to try to boost production to help us over this current situation we have on volume and capacity,” said HMU CEO Ken Weber.
    According to Weber, the last new well was dug in 1989 and the expected life of a municipal well is 30 years with some of HMU’s dating back to the 1930s and 1950s with most of them dug in the 1960s and 1970s. He said water shortage discussions are shown in board meeting minutes from as far back as 2002.
    “We started addressing the issue several years ago with a Hydrology Study by the University of Iowa and USGS to evaluate the aquifer from north edge of Harlan south to the old gravel pits. This showed the highest potential was in our existing south well field and the adjoining property to the south. That was followed up with the resistivity testing to pin-point the best locations within that prescribed area of most interest,” said Weber.
    McClure Engineering evaluated all that data and complied a raw water development report.

Working on revising
water conservation policy
    Information was shared on changes on a specific HMU water policy on water conservation. Weber said they are still revising the policy but HMU used the framework out of Water Wise as far as going from water watch to water warning to water emergency, the three criteria for how to classify production capabilities. Water Wise is a document prepared by the Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities in conjunction with the DNR)
    “We have been working with the City on identifying exactly what is relevant or to what our specific needs are. For example, we put an insert in there for bulk water because we have some farm chemical businesses that sell bulk water. We put a provision in there for the rack track, that type of thing. We just kind of tried to tweak those conservation measures.”
    HMU is working on the frame work as to how they are going to step through working with their customers on water conservation measures. Weber said the first things are voluntary basically asking customers to avoid non-essential water use between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
    “The second step when you move from water watch to water warning, that’s where you start getting into more specific things such as car washing and equipment cleaning and all these other type of things either eliminated or restricted,” said Weber.
    He said there are two tiers within the water warning before getting to water emergency then it is a specific order as far as who is shut off and when. Weber said the policy carries some frame work for enforcement.
    “We are basically proposing a two step enforcement. The first step is a notification, a written notification to customers. If it was something that was inadvertent, it is up to us whether or not we apply a penalty but thats where we start applying penalties,” said Weber.
    Weber said there are some very specific criteria in place now “not only for trying to progress through a decrease in water consumption but than also some enforcement measures as well if we get to that extreme point.”
    Weber said HMU is working with the City to do a slow fill on the municipal swimming pool as much overnight as can be done to avoid the window of peak demand among other conservation measures.
    HMU plans to publish information in the newspaper about the different steps in conservation measures proposed during a water watch. If it becomes a water warning situation, customers will receive letters in the mail on the situation.
    HMU is still working on revisions on the specific water policy with further changes possible.

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