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Delano City Council awards bid, responds to water regulation
April 11, 2016
DELANO, MN – Delano City Council awarded a $4.65 million bid for the 2016 street and utility improvement project, and also responded to new regulations from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency during an April 5 meeting.

Council awards $4.65 million bid for street project

By Gabe Licht

With a competitive bid market, the city of Delano is set to spend about $500,000 less than estimated on the 2016 street and utility improvement project, and will also realize significant savings on a new levee north of downtown.

During its Tuesday evening meeting, Delano City Council adopted a total bid package of $4,653,879, including three alternate projects, from WM Mueller & Sons, of Hamburg. The engineer’s estimate for those projects was $5,165,739.

Included in a $4,293,462 base bid are First Street, Second Street from Railroad Avenue to Bridge Avenue, 72nd Street from Highway 12 to an extended portion of Merriman Drive, Bridge Avenue from Highway 12 west, Buffalo Street, Elk Street, Franklin Avenue between First Street and the east end, Merriman Court, Merriman Drive, and Railroad Avenue, including an extension to Tiger Drive.

The first alternate will cost $209,118 and involves additional replacement of vitrified clay pipe sanitary sewer mains, structures, wyes, and service pipe to the right of way, which was not identified in the base bid.

The second alternate involves installing an 8-inch water main along the west side of Highway 12 from 72nd Avenue to Ebersole Avenue. That work will be completed by Delano Municipal Utilities, “which would reduce the cost to DMU and potentially reduce the construction timeline,” City Engineer Shawn Louwagie said.

The third alternate will cost $165,219 and involves the reconstruction of the parking lot located downtown between River and Second streets and Bridge and Railroad avenues. Reconstruction includes rebuilding the pavement section and replacing the existing storm sewer.

The fourth alternate will save the city $13,920 and will allow the contractor to install the sanitary sewer through the wetland near First Street and Franklin Avenue after the frost sets in.

Louwagie noted the 4th of July parade route will not be altered by construction.

“They can’t touch downtown until after July 4,” he said.

He added that he did not believe the restriction affected the price of the bids, as no contractors contacted him with concerns about it.

Resident Vern Lange raised concern about narrowing First Street by 2 feet to add a sidewalk on the east side, instead requesting a walking lane to remain in the street.

Mayor Dale Graunke said the street will be narrower to fall in line with the city-established standard. Councilwoman Betsy Stolfa also noted a narrower street is cheaper and encourages slower speeds.

In addition to adopting the bid from WM Mueller & Sons, the council also adopted a bid of $99,985 from T & S Trucking, of Buffalo, to relocate the levee stretching from Oak Avenue past Park Avenue.

City Administrator Phil Kern explained that the levee system was built in the 1960s, and the current levee was built on top of a granite spoil yard.

“It’s a significant problem every year,” Kern said. “Water finds its way underground and comes up by St. Joe’s. With the last flood, we had six different pumps and a temporary levee.”

Granite has since been mined out of that area. The new levee will be closer to the river.

Initial estimates put the cost of a new levee at $1.1 million.

“While this is the most important flood project, we said we would have to find time and a way to do it cheaper,” Kern said.

With about 30,000 yards of excess dirt coming from the street project, the city has found a cheaper option.

Before doing so, the city had applied to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to fund half of the $1.1 million estimated cost for the levee.

“I contacted the state to let them know about this project. The state was happy and is excited about the potential cost savings,” Kern said. “We have a verbal agreement with them.”

That agreement calls for the state to pay for half of the entire levee cost of $362,079, which includes $224,094 to transport the levee material from the construction site to the levee site and $38,000 for removing the existing levee and grading the site, in addition to the $99,985 for T & S to shape the levee.

“The moral of the story is . . . we would have had to pay to haul that dirt out of town,” Kern said. “Now, the state is going to help pay to haul that over to build this levee, and we’ll address this levee and avoid the problem in the future.

Odds and ends
In other business, the council:

• authorized the public art review process for an application to create a labyrinth on Highway 12 across from Peppermint Twist. The city plans to use excess fill dirt from the street improvement project to build up that area. Councilman Jack Russek asked and Councilman Jason Franzen agreed, if more art and attractions are put in that area, for a fence to be built around existing art to prevent children from climbing on it and getting hurt.

• authorized the purchase of sport court surfacing for a park in the Woods Creek neighborhood. The project will include $70,402 in sport court installation by C&C Courts, of Burnsville, and $10,226 for public works employees to prepare the site for the new court.

City required to reduce phosphorous in water

By Gabe Licht

Delano City Council learned Tuesday the city will need to reduce the amount of phosphorous in the city’s water by nearly 50 percent by 2021. The city will conduct a two-year pilot study to cut phosphorous from 1 miligram per liter to .53 miligram per liter.

By conducting the study, the city will receive a five-year permit from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, after having an expired permit for more than three years.

“We’re going to do the pilot program June through September because those are the months this will affect us,” wastewater treatment plant operator Chuck Keyes said.

The pilot will include more chemicals and, possibly, other changes at the plant. The study’s findings must be reported by Dec. 31.

MPCA asked the city to have the details of its pilot study in place by May 1, but the city requested two more weeks.

The city will also launch an educational campaign about reducing phosphorous. The public is encouraged to use non-phosphorous laundry detergents and fertilizers and reduce the use of garbage disposals.

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