Council sets water work in motion
BEMIDJI—The city of Bemidji put more public works projects on deck for the summer that have both public and private implications.
At its City Council meeting Monday, a trio of projects moved ahead—to reconstruct an intersection, test for a new water well and assist in better protecting water mains at a housing complex.
In 2005, the city approved the Deep Rock Townhome development, located south of the Jefferson Avenue Southwest and Division Street intersection. The development, with 36 townhomes, included a private street, Deep Rock Loop Southwest, and water and sewer mains were installed during the construction.
While installed by the developer, those utility pipes were turned over to the city upon completion. Since finishing the project, Deep Rock management has taken action to resolve issues of water lines freezing over the past decade. However, the issue persists for seven of the homes.
To remedy the problem, management hired Freeberg and Grund of Bemidji to resolve the freezing. To do so, the plan is for about 300 feet of existing water main to be dug and lowered to better protect from freezing. The project would also include work on the seven service lines to the homes still reporting problems.
In moving ahead with the project, Deep Rock management has requested the assistance of the city. As part of his recommendation to the council, Public Works Director Craig Gray said partnering for the project would be an appropriate use of city water funds.
Gray said the project is estimated to cost between $40,000 to $60,000 and recommended the council approve the city partnering for 50 percent of the costs, with a max at $30,000. As part of the council's approval, Gray and City Attorney Alan Felix were authorized to prepare a formal agreement with Deep Rock.
Testing for new well
Across the city, near the Bemidji Regional Airport, the council approved more environmental testing for the installation of a new water well. Barr Engineering of Minneapolis is investigating where to construct the new well and connect it to the city's water system, a project estimated at more than $2 million.
Barr Engineering has already done some testing at the first proposed location, but the results showed the presence of heavy metals such as lead and cadmium. As a result, Barr recommended testing another site more to the west, Gray said.
The council approved Traut Companies of Waite Park—at a cost of $38,020—to collect soil and groundwater samples for analyzing by Barr.
Over the past several years, three city water wells have been shut down in response to the discovery of chemicals formerly found in firefighting foams. The city still operates two wells to produce clean water.
The third project approved Monday was for work at the intersection of Fourth Street Northwest and America Avenue. Gray said the storm sewer system in the area has deteriorated and needs reconstruction, along with the sanitary sewer and water mains.
In addition to the utility work, Gray said the intersection project will include upgrades to the curb and sidewalk ramps to better meet ADA standards. The council approved a bid from Sparky's Construction of Bemidji for $173,692.50. When factoring design and engineering, the total comes to $208,500.