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Water usage up; well levels still above average

WORTHINGTON -- Though residential water usage has increased by roughly 6 million gallons in the first seven months of 2016, compared to 2015, Worthington Public Utilities General Manager Scott Hain isn't too concerned at this point, even though w...

WORTHINGTON -- Though residential water usage has increased by roughly 6 million gallons in the first seven months of 2016, compared to 2015, Worthington Public Utilities General Manager Scott Hain isn’t too concerned at this point, even though water levels in the city’s wellfield have been dropping in recent weeks.

Hain reported to WPU’s Water & Light Commission Monday afternoon that the water level in Well 26 is 4 feet, 1 inch above average -- and nearly 14 feet above the water level reading taken at the same time last year.

“It’s a whole lot better than last year,” Hain said. “Things are looking alright. Water demand is up a little bit, but I think, by and large, people are still holding the line. I haven’t seen a lot of sprinklers going.”

In other action, the commission:

  • Awarded a bid for the Beltline and Parker sanitary lift station rehabilitation projects to Larson Crane Service, Worthington, at a cost of $196,602.06. Larson Crane Service was the sole bidder on the project. Hain said the bid, combined with engineering costs, puts the project at $216,850 -- in between the engineer’s estimate of $249,250 from March, and the updated estimate of $208,900 given in July. The project will be done yet this fall.

  • Learned Missouri River Energy will pass along a rate increase for 2017, though Hain said he is not yet sure of the impact. The news comes as Worthington Public Utilities begins its budget process for the next year.

  • Discussed a proposal from the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities to establish an Environmental Action Fund to support an environmental advocacy program resulting from increased pressure from government regulators, including the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).

Commission member Lyle Ten Haken, though pointing out that money would be given to one governmental agency to fight another governmental agency, said he is in favor of joining an effort against the MPCA and working with the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities.
“The majority of the power of legislators is in the seven-county metro area,” Ten Haken said. “Without someone waving the flag on our behalf up in St. Paul … we’d get a lot less without the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities.”

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Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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