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Council hears of water main repair success

By Sue Sitter - | Oct 10, 2020

The Rugby City Council heard a report on the success of an emergency water main repair project at its regular meeting Oct. 5 at City Hall.

Jim Olson of engineering firm AE2S distributed maps and photos of the area where the pipe was repaired.

“The contractor did a good job,” Olson told the council.

However, Olson warned water main and pipe problems could happen again in the future. “Time will tell when everything settles down whether that line will blow again,” he said. “You’ll see in some of those pictures, all that asbestos cement pipe is pretty ragged. So, we do expect someday something bad to happen again. Knock on wood, I hope not.”

Olson added, “I would like to come to council next with a contour (diagram) from the six miles from the wells to the plant and show that to council where all the air valves are in the system.”

“The air valves are a big deal,” Olson noted. “I would like to explain that at a later date. There are 17 air valves between the 12-inch (pipe) where it transitions to 14 inch (pipe), and then 10 inch (pipe). I was looking at the contour map today with 17 air valves; we don’t know where some of them are. I know where they are on the map. Some of them may be buried; some of them may never have been operating properly. That’s a direct reflection on why bad things happen. I’ll leave it at that. You guys have got a lot on your plate tonight. We can talk about that another day.”

Olson also discussed problems he noticed along the line where collars connecting older pipe with newer PVC pipe could leak. He also noted valves and other parts of water main infrastructure may be located in farmers’ fields and may suffer damage when run over by farm machinery.

“Everybody can just be a little smarter on how pipelines and air valves work because you’re the ones spending the money on it,” Olson said. “You can dump money into it until the cows come home but you’ve got to have air valves and proper piping coming from those wells to here.”

“I think it’s worth a conversation when you’re ready,” he said, adding, “From the wells to the plant, if you were to replace that whole line, it would be between seven and ten million dollars. So, food for thought.”

Olson explained that workers put some safety gate valves in the system “so (Water Plant Supervisor Greg Boucher) can control it if something happens. He can shut off those valves. If something happens to the west, he can shut that one down on the north side and go down to the plant and isolate it. If something happens in the other direction, he has that.”

“The gate valves out in the field have that valve box sticking up,” Olson noted. “When you talk about farmers accidentally running things over, those valve boxes get picked off a lot.”

Olson said the boxes should have barriers to “let the farmer know that it’s there, or else he’ll pick it off, and all he has to do is pick off the top. That’s not a man hole. It’s just a valve box.”

Mayor Sue Steinke reported an issue with easements from landowners near the pipeline repair. She thanked Olson for bringing a surveyor out to the area to find an alternate way of repairing the pipeline. Steinke said the surveyor found the location of the easement.

In other business, the council considered a second reading of City Ordinance 428, which appropriated monies to various city operating funds.

The council also approved first readings of Ordinances 429 and 430, which provided definitions of modular and manufactured homes, and zoned where such buildings could be located.

Ordinance 429 extends city zoning authority to “any quarter-quarter section of unincorporated territory if a majority of the quarter-quarter section is located within one mile of the corporate limits of the City of Rugby.”

The ordinance also states, “The city’s zoning authority will only permit manufactured homes to be situated in R-3 mobile home park districts or R-1 mobile home district. All other areas within the city’s zoning will not be permitted.”

The ordinance includes a grandfather clause that applies to existing manufactured home structures in other zoning districts. Existing manufactured homes in non-mobile home districts may be replaced only by “structures correctly permitted in the zoning district of the property. Modular homes or off-site built homes will be permitted based on zoning district requirements.”

“Your mobile homes need to go in the mobile home park, and shipping containers need to go in the industrial area,” Steinke said. “That’s the bottom line.”

The council also accepted a certificate of dedication of streets and easements to Gary Kirchofner and other owners of mobile home park property in the Berdahl First Subdivision within the city. Kirchofner appeared before the council to answer questions.

The council also heard reports from city committees.

Council member Joel Berg reported the recreation committee saw work begin Oct. 5 on a drain tile project near the recreation complex. Berg estimated the project would take “about two to three weeks.”

Dave Bednarz of the city public works committee updated the council on a city sidewalk project. “So far, since the program started, we have replaced 49 sidewalks in the city of Rugby,” he said. “We’ve done some sidewalks near businesses and replaced (sidewalks) near Ellery Park. This year, so far, we have seven new sidewalks and we still have around $11,000 to use if someone’s interested in a 50/50 sidewalk,” he added, describing an arrangement where property owners pay half the cost of a sidewalk.

The public safety committee reported hearing citizen concerns about parking regulations for commercial vehicles. The committee recommended putting signage in residential areas stating commercial vehicle parking is prohibited in those neighborhoods.

The council also discussed concerns with property near Ellery Park that was heavily damaged by a fire last spring.

Joel Berg reported he had discussed repairs needed on the Rugby Armory with Olson of AE2S.

City Attorney William Hartl also reported “slow” progress made on the Rugby’s Municode project, which will put city ordinances into an electronic database.

Laurie Odden of the Rugby Convention and Visitors Bureau also appeared before the council to report the CVB had named Ashley Berg as its new president and Jarett Lovcik as its vice president.

In other business, the council approved an agreement to sponsor community open skating on Sunday nights from 6-9 p.m. at Al Wentz Arena.

The council also approved a permit application request by Gary Laughridge to place an antique windmill on his property within the extraterritorial zone, a tax abatement request by two Rugby residents and a request for support of a project by the Good Samaritan Health Services Foundation to update an elevator in the Heart of America Medical Center.

The council approved raffle permits for Rugby First, the Rugby CVB and Little Flower Catholic Daughters.

The council also approved a proclamation naming Oct. 10 Arbor Day for the city of Rugby.

Additionally, the council voted to issue an invitation for bids to rent plots of city-owned agricultural land. Sealed bids to rent the land will be accepted at City Hall until 2 p.m. Oct. 30.

Steinke also thanked Liz Heisey for her work as executive director of the Rugby Job Development Authority.

The Rugby City Council will hold its next regular meeting Monday, Nov. 2, at 7:30 p.m. in City Hall.

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