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news Worthington, 56187
Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

WORTHINGTON -- After a several-year-long moratorium on new hookups into the Lincoln-Pipestone Rural Water system, residents of Nobles County will finally be able to tap into a new water supply.

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Construction is slated to begin later this spring on a project that will bring rural water service to six townships in Nobles County and four townships in Jackson County. While LPRW is spearheading the project, the water will be purchased from the Osceola County Rural Water System through an agreement made with May City, Iowa.

Dennis Healy, CEO of Lincoln-Pipestone Rural Water, said the combined $28.1 million project will include the construction of a 1 million gallon water tower near Rushmore, and the installation of nearly 28 miles of 12-inch mainline pipe this year. In 2010, the work will begin to connect property owners onto the system.

"There's a lot of interest in the existing service area and the expanded area," said Healy, adding that 450 to 500 new customers are expected to take advantage of the rural water service. That number is roughly 50 percent of the properties located within the service area.

"We've got a number of people in the area that we already serve that have been waiting for water to expand their livestock operations or just haven't been hooked up in the past," Healy said. "We've been exploring for water for several years."

LPRW will hook into the Osceola County Rural Water System at the Iowa-Minnesota line southwest of Round Lake, and run its 12-inch main water line north to 320th Street, then west to Lais Avenue before heading north again to CSAH 35, three miles west of Rushmore. From there, it will follow CSAH 35 to a pump station at the intersection of Edwards Avenue.

The water tower is proposed to be constructed in Section 22 of Dewald Township. Healy said bids will be let on that project first because of the length of time needed for construction.

The tower, along with the 12-inch mainline, metering system and pumping stations that make up the first phase of the project will cost approximately $12.5 million. A $4 million grant was received to help fund that phase of the project, Healy said.

The second phase, which will include the smaller lines and customer hook-ups, will cost $15.6 million.

"For the smaller lines and hooking up customers, we are expecting some dollars through USDA Rural Development," Healy said. "That construction would begin later this summer and hopefully be completed in 2010."

LPRW staff has already started visiting with landowners about easements to install the 12-inch mainline, and property has been purchased for the water tower, metering station and a small booster station.

Properties wishing to hook into the water system will be charged an initial $500 membership fee, which will cover the costs of the preliminary engineering and paperwork. In addition, a $15,000 hook-up fee will be charged. Healy said people may either pay the $15,000 fee up-front, or have it assessed to the property over a period of 37 or 38 years.

"Then there's a monthly charge based on the amount of water actually used," Healy said.

While the cost to hook into the system may seem high, Healy said "it will never be any cheaper than it is right now." With the financing offered by USDA Rural Development, everyone who signs up before construction begins will get to take advantage of the grant program, he added.

"Each individual has to evaluate their situation and whether or not they can justify the expense," Healy said. "We're not a cheap solution, unfortunately.

"People connect to rural water for different reasons. Some simply don't have enough water to meet their needs," he added. "Also, a lot of people want to connect because of the water quality."

Healy said fluoride will be added to the water at the access point with the Osceola County Rural Water System. He said the water piped through the system will be relatively soft, in the low-20 grains of hardness range.

"It's soft enough to use without a softener, although most people will use a water softener, especially if they've got dishwashers," he added. The water will meet all state and federal water quality regulations, and will be treated, if necessary, for iron, manganese and other materials often found in water.

Healy said public meetings regarding system hook-ups will be scheduled later this winter or early spring, and mailings will also be sent out to people within the proposed service area.

Anyone with questions about hook-ups may contact LPRW at 1-800-462-0309, or by e-mail to lprwetech@itctel.com.

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