July 23, 2007

Howard Lake imposes water restrictions

City water usage has been more than 400,000 gallons per day

By Jennifer Gallus
Staff Writer

For the first time ever, the City of Howard Lake is imposing water restrictions due to the dry weather and the fact that water usage has increased dramatically, according to discussion at Tuesday’s council meeting.

Average daily water usage for the first half of July was 337,000 gallons per day, but as of last week, daily usage jumped up and hit 400,000 gallons a couple days, which is what triggered the water restrictions in conjunction with the prolonged dry spell, according to Howard Lake Public Works Director Tom Goepfert.

In the past, the city would only hit 400,000 gallons of usage once or twice a summer.

The restriction calls for city residents and businesses to water lawns either from 6-9 a.m. or 6-9 p.m. every other day. Those living on the odd numbered side of the road may water within the specified times on the odd numbered days of the week and those on the even numbered side of the road may water within the allotted times on the even numbered days of the week.

Additional concerns behind the restriction is the fact that the Wright County Fair begins this week, and hot and dry days are forecast.

Dust control/grading for streets affected by detour

With Wright County Road 6 closed south of town, an increase in sidestreet traffic is occurring on surrounding gravel roads, which is resulting in disgruntled property owners, clouds of dust, and aggravated washboard conditions on the roads.

Many vehicles are choosing to take shortcuts on the surrounding gravel roads instead of following the detour route.

Due to lack of moisture, townships have been behind on grading gravel roads. Washboard conditions are worsening by the day as increased traffic travels those roads, according City Engineer Barry Glienke.

Dry conditions and gravel roads also cause dust clouds as vehicles travel, which has been a nuisance, in addition to the washboards, to property owners along those roads.

Several complaints have been lodged with the city about this problem, which is expected to last until County Road 6 is reopened in October.

The city decided it will contact the township to offer to apply water to the roads so that they could be graded, and then apply dust control on some of the heavily-traveled gravel roads.

The roads targeted for grading and dust control are:

• 70th Street, from Haywood Drive to Jellison Avenue,

• 80th Street, from County Road 6 to Jellison Avenue,

• and from 80th Street, north to 13th Avenue.

More than three miles will be graded and treated, and the cost of the dust control, alone, will be about $14,000. The treatment will be paid out of overage allowances built into the project’s budget.

The contractor, Sundblad Construction, has been instructed not to use local roads and to follow the detour. The company has been warned twice for not using the detour roads and a written notice was sent Wednesday. A fine of $500 per day can be assessed to the company for each day construction equipment travels on local gravel roads that aren’t in the detour.

Odds and ends

In other business, the council:

• approved a conditional use permit and variance for Auto Choice to operate a car dealership at 505 Sixth Street.

• approved a bid from B & H Seal Coating of Litchfield in the amount of $402 for the repair and sealing of cracks on Seventh Street.

• approved a bid from Pearson Brothers in the amount of $9,975 to seal coat the road between Fifth Avenue and 12th Street in Dutch Lake Woods, as well as the two cul-de-sacs.

• entered into an agreement with MAB Development for an easement through a currently undeveloped portion of Dutch Lake Preserve and the reimbursement of about $38,000 to the city when a future phase of Dutch Lake Preserve is developed that will benefit from the 2007 Improvement Project.

• agreed to have the Herald Journal create a logo for the city at the cost of $240.

• approved a request from St. John’s Lutheran Church for the installation of a crosswalk mid-block on 12th Avenue.

A request by the church for a stop sign at the intersection of Seventh Street and 12th Avenue was denied after a review by both the police department and the street department that deemed the existing yield sign to be sufficient.

• approved having the city engineer prepare a feasibility study on a storm water drain near the old motel that was tagged by the Howard Lake Watershed Alliance as a source of pollutants in the lake.

The study will cost $2,500 and includes the identification of probable causes of pollutants, options for treatment or removal of the storm water, and the costs to survey several intakes contributing to the discharge.

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