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Council approves water main repair at special meeting

By Sue Sitter - | Sep 26, 2020

Submitted Photo An aerial photo shows the location of a water main break northeast of Rugby.

The Rugby City Council held a special meeting Sept. 22 to address a water main leak found north east of Rugby the previous Wednesday.

The meeting followed a Public Works Committee meeting where Jim Olson of Grand Forks firm Advanced Engineering and Steve Jacobson of Rugby firm B and J Excavating presented information on the leak and materials needed to repair it.

Olson and Public Works Committee member Dave Bednarz said the leak was “underwater” in an area approximately five and one half miles east and one mile north of Rugby.

In an email to the Tribune, Rugby City Auditor Jennifer Stewart said, “The broken pipe brings water from wells 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 9 to the water plant.”

“We are currently running water to the plant from wells 1 and 2,” Stewart added. “The water currently being used is being treated at the water plant just as the water from the other wells is treated. There is no safety concern.”

A public statement issued on the city’s Facebook page read, “Please avoid unnecessary use of water until further notice – watering lawns, watering gardens, washing cars, etc.”

“You may continue to utilize water for showers, laundry, dishes, etc.,” the statement added. “The water main issues we had last week are not yet fully repaired; currently it is taking the city much longer, to treat the daily amount of water necessary for the community. Thank you for doing your part!”

North Dakota District 14 Representative Jon Nelson attended the committee and council meetings, as did Daniel Schaefer of All Seasons Water District, which receives water from the City of Rugby.

The Public Works Committee agreed to make city and rural water users a priority during the emergency, curtailing supplies to users such as the Rugby Golf Course.

“(With) our fire situation, we’ve got to make sure we have an adequate supply,” Mayor Sue Steinke said.

Olson and Jacobson discussed the merits of two different materials for pipes. Olson said the leaking pipe was made from a material that probably dated to the 1970s.

The committee considered using PVC (polyvinyl chloride) or HDPE poly pipe for the project. Estimated costs for the poly pipe were $156,056, while the PVC pipe was estimated at $162,804. Olson said the poly pipe available could be shipped from South Dakota within about four days.

“With the 12-inch (poly) pipe, there’s going to be a slight water pressure loss, but that’s minimal. It doesn’t mean anything in 1000 feet of pipe,” Olson said.

Schaefer said All Seasons Water District used the HDPE poly pipe and had good results.

The committee considered how timely the repairs could be done.

“If we could be working by Monday, at the latest, that would be best,” said Steinke.

Stewart said public works employees have been putting in long days to fix the leaks.

Stewart also noted she had spoken with the Souris Basin Planning Council to see if grant funding would be available for the emergency repair project.

Kraft made a motion to use the poly material if it would be shipped in time to begin repairs, and include a 10 percent allowance on the highest contract quote for extra materials needed to install the pipe and complete the project.

In other business, the committee voted to table an easement matter concerning the East Side Plaza property near the Chalmers Addition in Rugby and approved the minutes to their August meeting.

After the public works committee adjourned, The Rugby City Council called a special meeting to approve the committee’s recommendation to approve the repair project and materials at a cost of ten percent over the highest contract quote, $162,804.

The council’s vote to approve the recommendations was unanimous.

“It comes down to dollars, cents and how soon we can get it,” Steinke told the council.

Olson said he could be onsite for the repair services.

Steinke also suggested contacting Rugby City Attorney William Hartl to negotiate a possible permanent easement and construction easement with the owners of property adjacent to the pipeline project

Council member Gary Kraft noted previous easement negotiations with people owning land adjacent to the water main involved payments from the city. Kraft said, “I think that motion would be decision making ability given to the mayor. If there is a cost involved and you don’t feel comfortable with what that cost is, call a meeting.”

The council approved the motion.

In other business, the council approved a request from Advanced Engineering to survey land for a public works water and sewer project at 2 ¢ Avenue and Sixth Street Southeast with a cost of $25,719. Funding for the survey would come from the Bank of North Dakota and grants from other possible sources such as the USDA, which were outlined in a presentation to the city public works committee by Advanced Engineering Financial Analyst Abby Ritz.

Ritz had told the committee she would work with Stewart to investigate funding options. Ritz estimated the total infrastructure and sewer project’s cost to be $6.4 million.

Olson also proposed to “start plans and specs in an amount not to exceed $50,000. That’s the same as the survey – the funds would be available with BND and the grant money for the project at that time.”

The council voted to discuss the plans at a future meeting.

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