Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Water system repairs are costly

The Nitrate is one of the fertilizer's that need by plants & Vegetables, NPK with the correct mix would help to produce nice flow, seeds, melon..fruits..vegetables....etc.

However, over the year, too many application on the farm would certainly contaminate the ground water. Off course for the after effect then to put things right would not only cost more money but also the time & afforts.

Therefore, prevention is still is better than cure.

Water system repairs are costly
BY ART HOVEY / Lincoln Journal Star

Seward has already built a $4.3 million water treatment plant, and Fairbury is finishing work on an $850,000 filtration plant.

York is drilling test wells east of town as the first step in a $7.2 million upgrade in its drinking water system. City officials there hope that effort � and seven consecutive years of across-the-board increases in water bills � will push back the date for a treatment plant.

A plant could drive total costs in York close to $15 million.

Rising nitrate levels, new federal standards for other contaminants, drought and aging infrastructure are among drinking-water problems pressuring cities across Nebraska to pay for expensive solutions.

"Nebraska, like other states in the nation, its water systems are getting old," said Jack Daniel, who presides over drinking water issues for the state Department of Health and Human Services.

In fact, the Nebraska State Revolving Fund, which helps finance water needs, lists 209 pending projects and $320 million in pending costs for new wells, water mains and other necessities in fiscal 2005.

That's up from 184 projects and $302 million for the fiscal year that ended June 30.

Some of the most ample groundwater resources in the nation allowed many of the state's more than 500 municipalities to drill relatively shallow wells in the direction of their growth through the last century, Daniel said.

But more recently, mayors and city councils are discovering the down side to shallow wells. That includes dropping water levels, vulnerability to contamination and no pipes connecting wells that would allow treatment or blending to cut water contamination levels.

"When our towns have to do corrective action," he said, "it costs them more than towns in other parts of this nation."

A typical small town might have three wells. "So then, if you have to treat, the first thing you can see that you have to do is replumb the town to bring the water together. So that's a very significant extra expense for Nebraska."

In York, Public Works Director Orville Davidson manages a system that has 13 wells within city limits, one outside city limits and no central connection. Two wells are shut down because of nitrate problems.

"We have problems with pumping capacity in the summer months in a drought season," Davidson said.

But it is not strictly a quantity issue, said City Administrator Jack Vavra. "Our issue is that we have some periods of time when some of our wells don't meet standards and we have to shut them down. Then we can get into volume issues."

Efforts toward long-term water security have already begun with the drilling of test holes for new wells in an area that extends about five miles to the east and 400 feet down to bedrock.

A water main at least 16 inches in diameter would bring new water to town and allow older wells to be retired. If things go according to plan, the need for a treatment plant could be pushed back at least as far as 2011.

But none of it comes cheap. Seven consecutive years of increases in York water rates � from eight to 12 percent each year through 2009 � will raise the monthly water bill for a family of four from $19.19 to $36.

Back in Seward, water rates will rise 14.5 percent by 2006 as city officials get contaminants in check, including nitrates that could no longer be held under the federal standard.

And dozens of other cities across the state are facing similar challenges. Read More...
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