Archive for Thursday, December 28, 2000

Council agrees DeSoto’s water is unacceptable

December 28, 2000

DeSoto's water yellow, cloudy, unacceptable but safe, the city council agreed Thursday.

Councilman Duke Neeland started discussion on the city's water supply at the Dec. 21 city council meeting, saying it was "really my wife's issue." He showed his fellow council members filters from his home's water system that were coated with a yellow substance.

"The filters are supposed to be replaced two or three times a year. We're replacing them two or three times a week," he said.

City Engineer Mike Brungardt identified the yellow substance in Neeland's filters as calcium.

"The water is completely safe; it just looks funny," he said. "We can't allow this to happen."

City Administrator Gerald Cooper agreed, calling the cloudy water "unacceptable." The calcium wasn't from water being produced now, he said.

"We shouldn't be going through this in wintertime," he said.

Neeland and Brungardt suggested two periods of extreme weather were responsible for the calcium's presence.

To keep up with demand, the city ran its water treatment plant at 125-percent of its capacity during last summer's heat wave. Although the water was safe, it was pushed into water lines without the normal filtration or sedimentation time.

Neeland and Brungardt speculated the heavy sediment settled at the bottom of the water tower. The calcium might have found its way into the water supply after water lines broke because of cold weather, forcing the city to draw down reserve water in the tower, they said.

Cooper suggested another reason the calcium was so noticiable last week. Water's acidity can change when broken water lines are repaired and that, in turn, can affect the residue lining the pipes.

"There are a lot of possibilities," Brungardt said. "We have to look into it and find the problem."

An increase in the city's water production capacity would eliminate the problem, and the city council approved the first step in a process that could do just that.

The city authorized Brungardt to seek qualification requests from engineering firms interested in doing the design work for a future water line project. The city engineer explained the requests are needed to "get the ball rolling" on the construction of a water line linking DeSoto with the water treatment plant the city is operating at the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant.

The proposal would lay a 16-inch water line from the Sunflower water towers, 3,500 feet north along Sunflower Road to103rd Street. At that point, the water line would be reduced to a 12-inch and would continue along Sunflower to 91st Street. There, it would turn east and terminate a half-mile west of Lexington Avenue.

The extra water capacity will be needed if the city is to land Intervet Inc.

Nov. 2, the city council approved an incentive package designed to attract Intervet to DeSoto. The package provides a 75-percent, 10-year tax abatement on the $28.5 million in new buildings Intervet would construct at the old Bayer Research Facility in southwest DeSoto and $9.5 million in personal property.

Although Intervet hasn't made a decision between DeSoto and Dallas Center, Iowa, it has told the city the company will require 30 million gallons of water a year at the campus.

Meanwhile, the future of Sunflower remains in limbo, and with it the status of DeSoto's request for the plant's water treatment facility.

Councilman Tim Maniez said he was concerned all the interrelated demands and requests may put the city in an awkward position. He wondered if the city was making commitments it couldn't keep.

City counselor Patrick Reavey said the city would make no commitments to Intervet until it received a guarantee the company was locating in DeSoto. It would then have 12 months to supply the needed water, he said.

He has a meeting with the representatives of the federal government on the water plant in January, Reavey said.

Meanwhile, Brungradt said the engineering firms he will contact understand his requests carries no commitment. All he will be doing at this time is asking engineering firms for their experience and qualifications with comparable water line projects, he said.

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