Keota Council Discusses Alternative Solution to Wastewater Chlorine Issue

Casey Jarmes
The News-Review

KEOTA – During the March 18 meeting of the Keota City Council, a concerned citizen attending the meeting offered a possible alternative solution to the city’s chlorine problems. Currently, the chlorine levels in the city’s wastewater exceed EPA regulations. In the past, the council has discussed switching to rural water or undergoing expensive renovations at the wastewater plant to reduce the amount of chlorine in the wastewater. The citizen asked the council to look into use of home water softeners, which use pounds of salt each week and release chlorine and sodium into wastewater. Josh Schreiber of the water department explained that water softeners shouldn’t be necessary in Keota, because the city already softens water, and that chlorine levels are hiring in wastewater than in drinking water. Councilman Mike Bender noted that he used to use a water softener, but does not anymore, because doubling up on water softening can be corrosive.

The citizen stated he uses a chemical de-chlorinator to treat water at his home, which handles hardness and chemical residue without releasing extra salt. He requested the city look into other options before beginning a multi-million dollar project. Mayor Tony Canlser stated that no one was thrilled to spend millions and that the city had more to think about. Councilman Curt Burroughs stated it might be cheaper to offer in-home chemical removal to Keota residents than to renovate the water plant. The citizen stated that the city’s water wells are good and that rural water could raise their prices. Cansler as well as Councilmen Matt Greiner and Keith Conrad requested Schreiber test the chlorine level of the concerned citizen’s water and compare it to the chlorine levels of the city as a whole. Schreiber stated he would, but warned that de-chlorinators can raise the rate of sulfates in wastewater. Greiner recommended the city send out a survey with water bills to find out how many Keota residents use water softeners.

Dr. Cody Branstad of Keota Vet Clinic informed the council that the city has a problem with dogs that have not received rabies shots, estimating that he knew of 30-40 dogs in town that were not current with their shots. Burroughs asked for a list of dogs missing shots. Cansler asked how much rabies shots cost and Branstad explained that it costs $60 per dog for the exam and shot. Branstad stated he tries to keep things cost-effective and that other clinics rely on grants to fund inoculations.

The council discussed a request to store after-prom items from the high school in the city hall basement. Conrad stated he was not in favor, because the basement is already cluttered and that he is concerned about who would be given the key. Burroughs pointed out there already wasn’t enough space in the basement and that changes to the basement are planned. He stated that he did not want the city to be liable for the after-prom items being damaged and that, if high schoolers repeatedly went into the basement, a priceless museum item could end up damaged or stolen. Councilman Heath McDonald seconded the security concerns, saying that there are too many keys to city hall out already, and pointed out that it would be hard for students to carry things up and down the basement stairs. Greiner stated that the would like to help, but the basement was the wrong place. The council voted against allowing the basement to be used for after-prom storage, but gave city employee Micah Harmsen permission to allow another city property to be used for storage, at his discretion, with the currently unused police office or the city shop thrown out as suggestions.

The council approved purchasing a $18,000 side-by-side from Sun and Fun to be used for city employee use. The council also gave Harmsen discretion to optionally purchase it without a roof or windshield, then purchase and install them separately, if that will be cheaper.

The council discussed a $4,200 bid from Harris Boyz Heating and Air Conditioning to take down and later put up duct work in the basement of city hall and a $2,400 bid from Goodwin Foundation Repair to repair the foundation. This work is planned to fix water leaks in the basement, so it can be converted into museum space. Bender stated the bid from Goodwins was fine and that they had done good work in the past, but that he did not trust the Harris Boyz bid, which he felt was too high. Bender stated the price was as high as he would expect to install new ductwork. Greiner, McDonald and Conrad agreed the bid seemed high. McDonald noted that Harris Boyz’s bids are normally reasonable.

The council paused the meeting for a few minutes so they could inspect the basement ductwork. Conrad noted that taking down and putting up the ductwork would be very labor intensive, but stated he still wanted to compare the bid against a second bid. Burroughs stated Harris Boyz had done good work in the past that he was comfortable with the price. Burroughs stated he would prefer for the basement work to be completed soon, so the museum expansion would be open by Fun Days in June.

City Administrator Alycia Horras suggested a complicated motion, where the bid from Harris Boyz would be approved under the condition that she found a second bid to compare it to by the end of the week. Burroughs stated he did not think the council was allowed to make contingent approvals when dealing with money. McDonald sated the bid seems high, but that it would be a lot of work and that Harris Boyz had done excellent work for him personally in the past. The council ultimately approved the bids.

The council set Spring Cleaning times for April 12, from 12-4 p.m., and April 13, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.




The News-Review

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