While several residents have been concerned with what’s next in the water system and how it will affect rates, none showed up to the first public meeting on the Glasgow Water Treatment Plant (WTP) in regards to the preliminary engineering report (PER).
Jeremy Perlinski and Jeff Ashley, both professional engineeers for Marrison-Maierle, presented to the city council and others who attended some issues with the WTP on Monday, March 3. Glasgow Mayor Becky Erickson explained that the first meeting was more focused on educating the council and the public on the current water system and what improvement the city might be looking at.
“After the engineer has identified the alternatives and developed associated costs a second public meeting will be held to receive input on the various alternatives,” Erickson said at the meeting. “At the second meeting costs and water rates will be discussed.”
Morrison-Maierle was contracted to do the PER for just more than $13,000. Perlinski began the public meeting by explaining that the idea was to make a master plan over the next 20 years, assess the current situation and plan for the future. After the assessment was complete they could suggest alternatives and develop a plan to implement improvements and a funding strategy.
“The last PER was done in 1985. Since then the population and demands have changed, state and federal regulations have changed, and the components have passed their useful life,” Perlinski said.
The presentation projected the growth of Glasgow to be a slow one; in 20 years they projected the population of 3,250 to grow to 3,700. They said that Glasgow has been a boom and bust town historically but recently has seen steady growth.
Ashley explained the current water demands and how much water the WTP was capable of producing. While the water is able to provide three million gallons per day (MGD), the demand currently averages around one and a half MGD, or about 186 gallons of water per capita. Future demands don’t show a huge gap in growth. That average demand would add up to just over an extra 100,000 gallons of water, and add four gallons of water per capita.
With demands projected to remain steady, the WTP won’t need to look at expansion but they may look at updating their system. During the presentation they explained that the main water supply comes from the Missouri River. River water means removal of solids, turbidity, microbial contaminants and organic materials and carbon. Ashley added that more monitoring and stricter removal regulations could be a future concern.
The existing WTP was built in 1966, and back then the main source of water came from the ground. The last PER was done in 1985 in order to help upgrade and change the system to run off surface water, the Missouri River, instead of pulling from ground water. The last significant upgrade seen since then was a decade later, in 1995. Many of those components from 1966 have remained in use.
The evaluation presented to the council was that the WTP lacked with no spare high lift pump available, and the clarifier also had potential to be at risk with no backup. Aging equipment was also noted to be a possible future problem.
The distribution system got good remarks, as most of the piping placed in the ground was adequate and in good condition. The pressures in flow in Glasgow also received good remarks.
The issues with the storage and distribution system came in with signs of aging. The pump station located near the airport was built in 1977, and the tank used there for storage came from the 1960s. The older pumps also are not as energy efficient and there was no back up generator available for long power outages.
“There are no major leaks, and compared to other cities Glasgow is in fairly good condition,” Ashley said about the distribution system.
Main breaks, and other small leaks in the pipes can cause the water to go missing. The main issues highlighted for concerns were mostly targeted to old equipment and doing something about the electrical system, which has been left in the open, instead of set into a separate area for safety.
The presentation was finished by explaining that the next step in analysis was to take a close look at the costs involved in the upgrades, and evaluating water rates. City council members focused on the possible costs and where funding could possibly come from, and Ashley and Perlinski explained that the Rural Development, DEQ and others are out there to help fund projects, but funding could be hard to come by without community support.
“It’s hard out there right now, with so much competition for funds,” Perlinski said.
While they’ve looked at similar projects in different cities, they explained that the costs would likely add up to a multimillion dollar investment for the community. The next public meeting will take place on Monday, April 7.