Annual water report presented
LE MARS — The Le Mars Water Department Superintendent Rich Sudtelgte presented the 2019 Annual Water Report to the city council at its Feb. 4 meeting.
The average daily water pumped in 2019 was 2,608,500 gallons, Sudtelgte reported, down 86,833 gallons per day from 2018.
He attributed part of that lower usage due to the amount of rain received in 2019, reducing lawn watering.
A total of 1,012,072,000 gallons of metered water pumped from six wells for the year.
The city’s water system consists of over 90 miles of underground water main, 4,751 water meters, 683 fire hydrants, over 1,757 main line valves, two 1-million-gallon elevated water tanks, one 1.5-million-gallon underground storage tank, over one million gallons in the distribution system, a 6 MGD Filtration Plant, one high service pump station with a total of four pumps, one booster pump station with three pumps running in alteration, and six Dakota Aquifer wells.
The six full-time employees, years of service and their certifications include: Sudtelgte, 14 years, Grade III Treatment/Grade III Distribution; Mike Haverhals, 24 years, Grade IV Treatment/Grade IV Distribution; Monte Brent, three years, Grade II Treatment/Grade II Distribution; Scott Tillman, three years, Grade II Treatment/Grade II Distribution; Curt Allen, three years, Grade II Treatment/Grade II Distribution; and Justin Frericks, two years, Grade l Treatment/Grade l Distribution.
Angie Kneip takes care of utility billing and collections.
“I’m happy to say all my guys have their Grade II or higher grade level, except for Justin Frericks,” Sudtelgte, adding Frericks will be taking his certification test in March. “In order to make a decision in the treatment or distribution, you must have a Grade II or higher rating or you have to ask someone who does.”
During 2019, the department repaired a total of 14 water main breaks in the city.
“On water leaks, last year we had 14, that’s twice as many as we had the year before. This year we’ve already had four,” he said.
A long list of projects were completed or worked on in 2019. Some of those include:
• Painting tower No. 1.
• Eliminate five blocks of 4-inch main on Central Avenue South for next year’s white topping project. There are two mains on Central, with the department moving the service lines to the 8-inch main eliminating the 4-inch main.
• Replaced Beacon on tower #2 with a new beacon.
• Two bacteria tests at the little league ball field because of the flood.
• Performed tests on all the wells and Head box for McClure’s (for hardness reduction).
• Hosted a Le Mars Community High School job shadow student at the department for three weeks.
• Gave tour of the water treatment plant to about 160 LCHS chemistry students. Also gave tours to Kiwanis Club and Cub Scout Troop 184.
• Worked with several contractors shutting down, line stopping, and tapping mains.
• Renewed annual water use permit.
• Completed all required tests for DNR including: 10 bacteria tests per month, 1 nitrogen-smmonia, 1 nitrate, 1 sodium, 1 trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids tests.
• Completed spring and fall flushing.
• Did 12 EZ valve installations for other towns/rural waters (5 1/2 days), also did 6 EZ valves in town.
• Worked with Le Mars Community School District for the stadium water service/main. They had to raise the city water main in front of the stadium because of the sewer elevation. Water department worked with DNR to make sure it was done right.
The water department also handles some locates for water and many service calls for various reasons, oversees cellular companies at the Le Mars water tower, moves snow at over 10 different locations in the downtown and surrounding areas, preforms small capital projects, replaces valves and fire hydrants, changes water meters, customer service work orders, repairs emergency water main breaks, and performs many other in house maintenance tasks at a great cost savings to the citizens of Le Mars.
Some projects for 2020 include a DNR Sanitary Survey (August 2020); review operating permit if the 2020 Census goes over 10,000 population; replace fire hydrants that are not functioning currently; Water looping from Lincoln & 18th SW across to west side of Business 75 by walking trail, and eliminate two blocks of 4-inch main on 12th Street Southwest from Central Avenue to Second Avenue Southwest to get ready for the white topping project in 2021.
“It’s a 365 day job. We have a great group of guys. They are awesome,” Sudtelgte said. “When you have guys who want to work, it makes the job a lot easier.”
Sudelgte added he has been elected to the board of directors of the Iowa Rural Water Association for a two-year term.