Time to 'open the spigots?'

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


It is one of the four elements worshipped by ancient man. After three to five days without it, health officials tell us you would die. It is an essential ingredient of every day life.

And in Le Mars, it looks like it will be getting more expensive.

Last week, the Le Mars City Council heard a presentation about deficiencies in the city's water system, as well as a plan to correct the problems and pay for the repairs.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) sets standards for water systems in the state. The city has been reviewing the water system, from delivery to storage to meters and rates. The discussion last week centered on a five year plan for improvements.

The plan was drawn up by the city's water committee and consultant McClure Engineering of Fort Dodge. They prioritized improvements including a new well, replacing water meters, replacing some water pumps and a new water tower.

The city currently does not meet the state's above ground water storage standards. The report heard last week suggested constructing a new one million gallon water tower at an estimated cost of $2.6 million. The design standard for the water system is to have enough elevated storage to match the average day's demand for water, which is about 2.4 million gallons.

A new water tower would help with fluctuations in water pressure that are occurring. Reliability of water to local industrial users played into the recommendations.

Increases in monthly water rates paid by all water customers would finance most of the proposed water improvements.

The council also set Nov. 1 at noon as the time for comments from the public on the evaluation of the water system and management plan, which includes priorities for the next five years.

This is a complex topic that literally affects everyone in Le Mars. We feel that it would be in the council and the citizens' best interest to hold a special meeting in the evening to explain the need for improvements and to give residents an opportunity to get their questions answered by the engineers.

The 'spigot' of information needs to be opened, as well as the 'spigot' of comments.