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Terrytown prepares for water project
February 13, 2014 Jerry Purvis   

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Members of the Bellevue Sanitary Improvement District Board were guests of the Terrytown City Council last week as members discussed Terrytown’s upcoming water project.

Terrytown has been providing water and sewer services to unincorporated Bellevue for a number of years, so the state considers both areas as one water system.

Terrytown is currently conducting a preliminary engineering report for the state so the city can apply for grant funding to install water meters on all residences and businesses and to find an additional source of water.

Terrytown City Engineer Jeff Wolfe said the city started the process of installing water meters about six years ago. That project would also replace the city’s water mains and replace the undersized water tower.

“The state told us that if we wanted funding for water mains or a tower, we had to have water conservation measures in place,” Wolfe said. “So we put all our effort into the metering project.”

The plan to install meters was approved by the state, but in the meantime, one of the city’s two water wells tested high for arsenic and was shut down. Since October 2012, the city has been operating on only one well.

Wolfe said the arsenic levels tested high not because of rising levels, but because of lowered acceptable levels by the federal government.

The preliminary engineering study is researching possible solutions, from drilling a new water well to building a treatment plant to purchasing water from a neighboring city.

The North Platte Natural Resources District is also involved in determining how a new Terrytown well would impact the overall water system in the area. They evaluated all the options and plugged them into a computer model to determine what would happen to the valley’s water. NRD eventually provided Terrytown with the data, but later said the model was invalid.

“We’ve been proceeding with the study with the numbers NRD gave us, whether it’s good or bad,” Wolfe said. “The one well still in operation is showing signs of fatigue and pumping efficiency has been going down.”

He added that if the well needed to be serviced, it could be offline for several days. The closed well would then need to be reactivated and residents informed about the arsenic levels. But if arsenic levels continue to rise, the state might not allow the well to be turned back on at all.

“We’ve known this for awhile, so it’s critical for us to come up with a solution,” Wolfe said. “Running on one well is not the solution. I think it’s going to take some help from the state to get this expedited.”

Wolfe said that because the state considers Bellevue as part of the Terrytown water system, their needs would also be evaluated in the engineering study.

At the January meeting, Terrytown council members brought up the idea of asking if Bellevue wanted to be annexed. Mayor Kent Greenwalt said some of the advantages for them would be street maintenance and police protection.

Terrytown City Attorney Kent Hadenfeldt explained the annexation process for members of the Bellevue SID board. Terrytown has already gone on record that annexation would only be pursued if Bellevue requests it and submits an application. That would initially require a public meeting for all residents to gather input for the proposal.

In other action, City Council member Chris Perales was appointed to serve as Terrytown’s representative on the county communications center advisory board.

Treasurer Lonnie Miller said the city is starting to see some income from the new Keno operation that opened last fall under new ownership.
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