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PeopleService watchful of high water levels in Winsted
July 11, 2011
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By Linda Scherer
Staff Writer

WINSTED, MN – Lots of rain this spring has kept PeopleService busy monitoring the high groundwater levels in Winsted.

On one occasion, very high water flows at Kingsley lift station caused operational problems, according to Paul Christensen of PeopleService.

“We did have to open the bypass valve for Kingsley, which is something we strive hard not to do, and we did bypass a limited amount of 100,000 gallons. For an event, that is a pretty limited amount and we were right on top of it,” Christensen said.

“Of course, the only reason we bypassed was to protect private property. We didn’t want any sewage to back up in people’s basements,” Christensen said.

Kingsley lift station was approved for an upgrade by Winsted City Council at its May 17 meeting. Work on the lift station is to begin sometime in mid-August and is estimated to be completed in one month.

Geislinger and Sons of Watkins was awarded the bid. City engineer Jake Saulsbury said at that meeting, the project wouldn’t start for 10 to 12 weeks because pumps ordered for the lift station would take some time to arrive, according to Saulsbury.

PeopleService checked with Bolton & Menk, city engineer, to tell them about the bypass event.

“With our calculations and their rated capacity for the upgrade to the lift station’s facility, the result was that the new facility would be able to handle the flows that required the bypass for this event,” Christensen said.

Although Christensen said the new facility upgrade would lessen the likelihood of having another event like the one this spring, he reminded the city and the public in general that there is a city ordinance regarding the use of sump pumps.

“We need to keep that clean water out of the sanitary sewer systems and out of the drains,” Christensen said. “Sump pumps need to be pumped to the outside of your structure, not into the sanitary sewer.”

Christensen added that the sump pumps are not the only reason for the high groundwater levels, but it’s the easiest one to address because it’s already in the ordinance.

With the event, PeopleService was required to test samples of what was bypassed and to notify the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Westside Skydiving campout

Westside Skydivers owner Joe Johnson asked the council for its approval to allow camping at the Winsted Municipal Airport Friday and Saturday, July 15-16, and Friday and Saturday, July 29-30.

The camping request relates to a skydiving league event with approximately 100 individuals attending.

Johnson estimates that less than half of the participants may wish to camp at the airport.

Council Member Dave Mochinski said the airport commission reviewed the request at its June 28 meeting and recommended approval with several conditions.

One of the conditions was the camping would be on a trial basis and monitored, in order to make future recommendations on other camping requests.

Council Member Bonnie Quast agreed with the airport commission and said, “I think this time, give it a try.”

The council approved the request.

Deadline to remove blight on Andy Avenue

Because the property at 230 Andy Avenue West was in foreclosure and the property is now lender-owned, abatement of blighting conditions appears to be the most efficient way for the city to deal with this issue.

The city council agreed and ordered the abatement from the property if it’s not cleaned up by Friday, July 15.

If the property is in compliance by July 15, the city will not take any further action. However, if the items are not removed, the city can begin the abatement process on Monday, July 18.

Since May, the city has been asking the property owner to remove a 1972 Steury boat that is in extremely poor condition and contains debris, as well as part of a couch, a shed in the backyard with a collapsed roof, pallets, plywood, cement blocks, metal construction pieces, and abandoned children’s toys.

Odds and ends

In other business, the council:

• approved an airport pavement management program to be completed by Bolton & Menk in time for the 2011 federal grant in August. The cost to complete the plan is $4,660, but costs are eligible for 95 percent federal funding. The local share would be $233.

The program would be completed as an appendix to the city’s existing pavement management program.

• approved amendments to the city’s zoning ordinance to require an administrative permit (zoning permit) to regulate temporary structures like vegetable stands and greenhouse structures in parking lots.

• required the property owner, David Panetti, at 114 Linden Avenue East to connect to the city’s sanitary sewer system. He has agreed to have the city complete the work and assess the cost of $14,686, with an interest rate of 5 percent, to be paid back to the city over a 10-year period.

• adopted a resolution of support for a $2.5 million appropriation of state bond proceeds to pave the Luce Line Trail from Winsted to Cedar Mills.

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