Timely rains don’t mean rising well levels
WORTHINGTON -- While recent rains in the Worthington area have been great for crops and finally pushed water over the dam on Lake Okabena, the weekly water level readings provided by Worthington Public Utilities shows the impact to the Worthingto...
WORTHINGTON - While recent rains in the Worthington area have been great for crops and finally pushed water over the dam on Lake Okabena, the weekly water level readings provided by Worthington Public Utilities shows the impact to the Worthington Well Field has yet to be seen.
During a meeting of the WPU Water and Light Commission on Tuesday, General Manager Scott Hain said the water level at Well 26 is now four inches above the red line (70 percent of the historic average), and has hovered above the red line for the past five weeks.
“We’re following the trend line, dropping kind of close to average,” Hain said. “We don’t seem to be dropping as fast as we dropped in previous years.”
Hain acknowledged that part of the reason for the slow down is because WPU continues to purchase water from Lincoln-Pipestone Rural Water, although it’s buying the same amount today as it was a year ago.
He also pointed to the fact that rainfall for the month of August was three and a half inches above normal.
Correlating the amount of rain to the well levels has stumped a lot of people, and Hain said he’s been fielding questions about why water levels in the well field aren’t rising with the rains.
“We’ve been so dry for so long,” he explained. “We’re getting timely rains … but you can dig an eight-foot-deep hole out there and leave it sit for three days and there’s no water seeping into the bottom of those holes.
“You might have some decent water in the top eight inches (of soil), but the ground is not saturated at all,” he added. “Those decent rains where you saw water ponded, in normal years you’d see it ponded for a week. Now, it’s gone eight hours later.”
The WPU will continue to monitor well levels.
In other business, the commission:
- Awarded the bid for the 14th Street sanitary sewer rehabilitation project to HydroClean LLC, Worthington, at the low bid of $73,659.16. Hain said six bids were received, all of which came in significantly below the engineer’s estimate. HydroClean has until next year to complete the project, which includes cure-it-in-place work to sewer lines.
- Discussed working with a consultant to complete a facilities plan for the city’s wastewater department. Hain said the consultant can create a roadmap for the next 20 years for the facility.
- Learned that Verizon Wireless wants to do a small cell project in Worthington. Plans are to install small cell technology on two street light structures - one on North Humiston Avenue and the other at the roundabout at Oxford Street and Minnesota 60. The projects would pull data into the fiber network.
Hain said he and Dwayne Haffield, Worthington City Engineer, have been in communications with Verizon for more than a year on the proposal, and they are nearing an agreement. Verizon would be charged an annual fee for electricity if the project becomes a reality.
- Discussed facility needs for the WPU. After the city sold a warehouse on Rowe Avenue this year, Hain said some storage space will be lost by the spring of 2017. Discussion is ongoing about future space needs.