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Terrytown moves ahead on water project
November 21, 2013 Jerry Purvis   

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By early next year, Terrytown hopes to have an engineering study ready for state review as the city works toward solving problems with its water system.

The city is currently operating on a single water well after a second well was pumping water with arsenic and uranium level in excess of federal regulations.

Jeff Wolfe with M.C. Schaff and Associates provides engineering services for Terrytown. He said the single well has been effective, even during last summer’s peak water season but they need to find an additional source of water soon.

One of the sticking points in preparing the engineering study is the process of “water mitigation.” According to the North Platte Natural Resources District, any water taken from the rivers must be replaced. One possible solution is for a city to purchase agricultural land and take it out of production, offsetting the water it took for the water system.

Gering ran into a similar problem when it opened its new well field a couple of years ago.
However, the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources ruled that mitigation would not be required and they would not have to make up for any depletion of the river.

“I don’t quite understand the process,” Wolfe said. “The NRD gave us an initial model to follow, but changed their minds later.”

He said Terrytown is proceeding with its engineering report. It will address no only the need for a new water source, but also an already approved project to hook up all Terrytown businesses and residences to a water metering system.

“We’ll go ahead with our engineering study and note the initial NRD model cannot be used,” he said. “By the time the study comes up for comment, the NRD will have kind of modeling information we can apply.”

Wolfe said after they modify the report address any comments, the report must be approved by state officials. The final report will include recommendations on how Terrytown should complete the water project.

“After the report is completed, we can send it to the state funding agencies that can help finance the project,” Wolfe said. “We’d like to get started in installing the meters next year because we’ve already budgeted for those.”

Terrytown officials have proposed three options for adding to the city’s water capacity. One is purchasing some land and constructing a new well field. Another is to build a water treatment plant to eliminate the arsenic and uranium in the water.

A third option, now being considered, is to obtain water from either Scottsbluff or Gering. If that’s the option they go with, Terrytown will be responsible for the cost of water and any expenses incurred for the other city to modify its water permit with the state.
Scottsbluff has already said it has the capacity to supply Terrytown with water.
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