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Commissioners receive update on water system

WORTHINGTON -- With an estimated 10 years before the Lewis and Clark water system reaches southwest Minnesota, Dennis Healy of Lincoln-Pipestone Rural Water told Nobles County Commissioners Tuesday his group is seeking an alternative water source to help service the region in the interim.

Healy reported that the state has committed its final installment of $3.25 million to Lewis and Clark. At the same time, Congress voted on a $22 million appropriation for the project. The Senate, on the other hand, has yet to vote on the matter.

"Unfortunately, the project is not moving fast enough," Healy said.

Once it's a reality, Lewis and Clark will boost the water supply for Lincoln-Pipestone Rural Water (LPRW) by about one-third. The system currently supplies about 3.3 million gallons per day to its users, much of the supply coming from the Holland well field.

"It gets to be more of a distribution problem than a water quantity problem," Healy said of the existing system.

While LPRW has looked into well fields in the Verdi and Adrian area, the presence of Topeka Shiners has put a halt to those ideas.

"We're paying the price for areas like Kansas and Missouri that no longer have Topeka Shiners," Healy said.

In addition to providing an update about the water system, Healy presented LPRW's annual report and budgetary information.

In other action, the board:

- Approved the purchase of a camera system and 1,000 feet of cable for the Nobles County Public Works department to use in inspecting county-owned tile. The camera is expected to cost approximately $14,000.

Public Works Director Stephen Schnieder said he contacted the City of Worthington about potentially using the camera, although it would be available on a very limited basis, since the cable is limited to about 250 feet -- not long enough for some of the county's tile systems.

"We can gather a lot more information with this kind of equipment," Schnieder told commissioners of the purchase.

"This is a situation where ignorance is bliss," he added. "With a camera ... we can find problems with the system that we had no idea they were there."

- Denied a request to spend $4,700 on updating and reprinting Nobles County maps. Schnieder reported that map supplies were getting low -- he estimated there were about 1,000 left -- and the company that prints the maps is offering a 50 percent off promotion this month. Despite the sale, Schnieder said the cost of the maps would still be more than double what it cost them to be printed six years ago.

"I would rather take this $4,700 and apply it to the (county tile system) camera," Commissioner Norm Gallagher said.

Commissioners suggested waiting until next year to re-order the maps.

- Authorized the closing of County State Aid Highways 11 & 30 in Ellsworth for its Family Fun Days celebration and parade on June 10, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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