By Ivan Raconteur
Lester Prairie’s wastewater treatment plant was among 36 in the nation to earn PISCES awards for 2010.
The PISCES (Performance and Innovation in the State Revolving Fund Creating Environmental Success) awards recognize projects identified by state clean water revolving fund representatives as examples of innovative and sustainable water quality financing.
The winners represent leadership and innovation in Clean Water Act compliance and financial integrity, according to an announcement from the US Environmental Protection Agency.
During Tuesday’s city council meeting, Pam Meyer of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency presented the award to the city.
Meyer said the operation of Lester Prairie’s plant shows exactly what the agency is trying to accomplish.
The $5 million expansion project in Lester Prairie resulted in a plant that had once become organically-overloaded and potentially unable to comply with new permit limits, to a facility that uses dual chemical and biological systems to reduce chemical use by more than 85 percent compared to a chemical-only system.
Lester Prairie’s plant removes approximately 1,000 pounds of phosphorus from the Crow River watershed each year.
Central Avenue project bid approved
City engineer Jake Saulsbury said the city received 10 bids for the Central Avenue utilities project.
The engineer’s estimate for the project was $217,122. Bids ranged from $196,186 to $262,331.
The council accepted the low bid from Wm. Mueller & Sons, and added replacement of a storm sewer line in the alley north of Central Avenue between Elm Street and Fir Street, at a cost of $15,501.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• approved replacement of all regulatory signs in the city to meet new federal requirements at an estimated cost of $11,000.
The new law requires the city to have a sign replacement plan in place by January 2012, and the work must be completed by January 2015.
• discussed possibly changing the city ordinance regarding vehicles parked in yards, but will work on enforcement of the city’s current blight ordinance before making any changes.
Police Chief Bob Carlson will provide an update on blight enforcement in June.
• appointed Mike Kegler to fill the vacant spot on the park board through the end of this year.
• approved the final layout for the Legion memorial in Central Square Park.
• approved keeping wages at $9.25 for compost site workers, and added Carlson as an alternate to fill in as needed.
Site hours are Mondays and Thursdays, 4 to 8 p.m..; and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• approved replacing light fixtures at city hall at a net cost of $1,724, after a $5,171 rebate from Xcel Energy.
• discussed adding solar panels to city hall, but took no action.
• heard a proposal about offering online payment of utility bills through an outside vendor, Safe Pay, from Council Member Art Mallak and resident Sandy Adams-Bruins.
City Clerk Marilyn Pawelk said 80 percent of city residents drop off their utility payments at city hall. Some residents who choose to do so have payments set up through their banks.
Mayor Andy Heimerl asked Adams-Bruins to contact the company to arrange a meeting with city staff to explain how the system works.
• noted, in response to a resident request, that golf carts are not allowed on city streets.
• noted, in response to a resident request, that city ordinance prohibits keeping chickens and other farm animals within city limits.
• approved a mill and overlay project to repair Elm Street, at a cost of $17,468.