Fountain council seeks to locate
source of suds at treatment plant
Wednesday, June 11, 2014 8:05 AM
Fountain's city council heard an update on wastewater treatment during its regular meeting last Thursday, June 5. It dealt with some old business matters that encompassed the proposed AT&T microwave dish chain mounts for installing a dish on the water tower and reviewing quotes for power-washing the water tower.
Scott Springer is now Fountain's city attorney. He is shown speaking to the council at its meeting last Thursday evening. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/BLUFF COUNTRY NEWSPAPERS
Dave Morrill of McGhie & Betts brought forward an agreement between the city and Valley Design for wastewater treatment.
He spoke of changes to the agreement between Valley Design and the city, as the company's functions create both domestic and processing waste, and the language in the agreement needed some tweaking to reflect Valley Design's most recent metal processing permits.
The engineer stated, "Under the permit, the two things they could put down the drain are their continuous discharge water and decanting the water off their rinse tanks, which would be dumped between 7 and 9 a.m. at a rate of 25 gallons per minute and does not include the soap solutions (they use)."
Councilor Jim Schott suggested trying the procedures outlined in the agreement and making changes if necessary.
Morrill added the new agreement includes a clause that outlines the requirement that the city use a third party to trace any suspected water violations back to Valley Design instead of making assumptions. That holds Valley Design liable to be fined if any findings determine the factory is the source of pollution.
Schott stated in regard to soap bubbling up in wastewater at the treatment plant, "If we don't find out where it's coming from, we're just chasing our tails...it might not be them at all. We've got to do our part, too, instead of pointing the finger at them."
Morrill also suggested the city consider maintaining stringent sampling of effluent at the wastewater treatment plant and request water samples directly from Valley Design as a method of pinpointing the source of suds floating into the plant.
Councilors inquired of Morrill whether any of the advice given by the University of Minnesota students who had examined the wastewater treatment plant last month had been heeded, and Morrill replied that it had, but that it was going more slowly than anticipated.
His "marching orders" were to inform PeopleService, the company managing the wastewater treatment plant, to "sample any unusual conditions at the plant."
Next, Morrill reported that he'd had a conference call with the personnel handling the AT&T dish installation, and together, the involved parties concluded welding chain mounts to the water tower would be acceptable. The council voted to have the tower washed by Water Tower Clean & Coat, of Wisconsin, for $2,200 before the dish is placed on the tower.
City maintenance matters included street repairs on Pine, First and Third streets, and flushing hydrants. The city has $78,000 in capital improvement funds plus another $15,000 in earmarked funds that may or may not be used for street repairs. However, no decision was made regarding the repairs.
City maintenance worker John Hanson related he hadn't flushed hydrants yet because he hadn't had an opportunity to notify residents, but that he'd like to "forewarn them that the water might come back a little dirty," or to establish a regular schedule so that residents know when to expect it.
Street sign retroreflectivity policies must be established in each Minnesota city by June 14, and councilors approved checking signs on high-volume roads every year and lower-volume roads every three years. An inventory of signs will be in place by June 5, 2015.
Fountain Police Chief Tom Mosher's May report was quite "shocking" - Mosher shared that he'd picked up a new automated external defibrillator (AED) from the county and intended to place it in city hall. However, the county insisted the new AED be placed in his car, so he replaced the existing AED in his car with the new one and placed the existing one in city hall.
He also dealt with further investigating a burglary at Willie's Grocery - contacting the Albert Lea Police Department to make connections so that the burglary suspects might be apprehended since the suspects had family in Albert Lea.
He also checked out a possible burglary that turned out to be a baseball accident and handled a loose dog complaint.
Clerk report, other business
City Clerk Ronda Flattum advised the council on plans to attend the upcoming June 18 Preston Ambulance appreciation celebration, outlined website visitor statistics for the city's website, and addressed the July 3 council meeting for which there will be a quorum.
The Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) requested a donation to support its programming, and the council voted to give $100.
Council members then passed resolutions supporting the Fountain Trail Days and granting a contribution from the Fountain Relief Association for Trail Days.
Attorney Scott Springer, of Springer & Gumbel, presented his proposal for becoming the city's attorney at a rate of $125 per hour, as former city attorney Kelly Wagner has accepted a position as Rochester's city attorney.
Springer has offices in Preston, Spring Valley and Chatfield, and cited he felt his firm could serve Fountain well because of the number of attorneys and the flexibility his firm offers in light of that.
Councilors voted to hire Springer as the city's new attorney.
The next meeting of Fountain's city council is slated for Thursday, July 3, at 7:30 p.m. at city hall.