At a city council meeting June 8, the Le Sueur City Council voted unanimously to pay Short Elliott Hendrickson, Inc. (SEH) for the completion of a Comprehensive Water Supply Plan and Water System Master Plan. These plans are meant to identify the city’s water supply needs and help Le Sueur budget for upcoming water infrastructure projects.
“It looks at what the gallon per minute demand is here in our city and what our treatment per gallon demand is and compares those,” said City Administrator Jasper Kruggel. “It says, if we need to size up for what we currently need or 10 years in the future, this is what we need to do.”
The model SEH plans to develop will predict Le Sueur’s daily average demand for water in five-year increments from 2020 to 2040 based on demographic data and water demand data from previous years. SEH will also identify potential areas to construct wells, evaluate the water treatment plant and analyze the priorities and financial feasibility of future infrastructure projects.
Kruggel noted that there were several big budget items the council was considering in the future, including a replacement water tower, a new well and an upgraded water treatment facility. He explained that this plan could save the city money on these future infrastructure projects and could help Le Sueur with acquiring grant funding.
One of the requirements of [funding programs for infrastructure] is you need a water supply plan,” said Kruggel. “We hope that because of the rates we have, particularly with sewer, that those infrastructure needs will be able to get some grant dollars for that for some of our larger projects. There’s potential there, but I don’t like to say we’re going to get a grant if we do this, because that’s not a guarantee.”
“Without this, as far as infrastructure funding goes, we’re dead in the water,” Mayor Gregory Hagg said.
Councilor Newell Krogmann also pointed out that a new water supply plan is required by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
“We’re a little bit overdue,” said Krogmann.
Le Sueur’s current water supply plan dates back to May 2010. The DNR had required an update to Le Sueur’s water supply plan in 2010.
One issue the water supply plan is not designed to address is Le Sueur’s issues with utility billing. Leak studies conducted by the city found that there are unexplained gaps between the amount of water consumers are using and how much consumers are being billed for water use. To account for this, city staff is in the process of replacing their utility billing software.
The approval of funding for the water supply and system plans marks the first time City Council has worked with SEH. They chose the contractor due to SEH’s low bid, which was $20,000 under the next lowest bidder. Administrator Kruggel stated that he spoke with SEH during planning to ensure that they knew what the scope of the project would require.