Water/sewer issues saturate meeting

By Marcie Klomp

Duane Copeman addressed Lime Springs council. “They’re going to take my water away from me?” He was referring to the unmetered hydrant at his shed property (across from the school).

A letter had been sent to three individuals in town who have a hydrant with no meter measuring the water used . . . essentially giving them free water for watering plants, etc.

Copeman asked if council would negotiate to allow him until the end of the growing season before the water was disconnected. The letter he had gave him 60 days after June 11 or on Aug. 11 to make a decision.

City Engineer George Tekippe explained the reasoning to council. “You need accountability for the water system. Without accountability, it will be harder to get grants or loans in the future.” And with the water and sewer problems the town is facing, it needs as many grants and loans as possible.

Robinson read the ordinance book, which stated all water had to be metered. Audience member Jim Smith commented, “I’ve lived in this town longer than most of you people have been born. This isn’t the way to treat people.” Robinson responded, “The ordinance books are in place, and council has to follow them.”

Clerk Carla Moser explained, “We can’t change Iowa Code [which is where the ordinance came from], but we can make it stricter.”

Robinson said that even if council wanted to change the ordinance, there is a process to go through which could take months.

Former Public Works Director Roger Lepa interjected, “This goes back to when Arlow Johnson was mayor. Jim said he would put in a dump station for locals. [Council] said, ‘Go ahead. You don’t have to pay for any water if people can dump there.’” To laughter from those at the meeting, Lepa continued, “Before that we used to go along the road and dump it!”

Tekippe concluded, “Now there is a state code that says you have to meter the water.”

• In other business, Smith also questioned an article published in the Lime Springs Herald about work on his hydrant that appeared in the June 13, 2013 issue. After Councilman Corey Gates read the section aloud, Robinson said, “That is what was discussed.”

• Dave Meyer approached council about a digging/repair bill sent to him from the City that was the result of work done 32 years ago, when his home was built. “How does it come out I was liable for repairs on the sewer. I know I applied for permits.”

Robinson pointed out, “The resident is responsible for connection from the residence to our pipe. If something breaks, that is the homeowner’s responsibility to connect to water and sewer.”

Meyer recalled, at the connection “the City said it was an eight-inch pipe, and it turns out it was a 10-inch. The city furnished the saddle.” He was hoping since the City gave him the wrong saddle, they would forgive him the bill. He is still responsible.

• After finding several large leaks, Sebastian is pleased with the lower amount of water being used by the City since a year ago. Now it is about 60,000 gallons per day instead of up to 160,000 gallons per day. He explained that in part is due to accountability.

He used the example of a broken pipe at the pool restroom. He could tell right away there was a problem when there was a spike in water usage. The next problem was finding the source, which guards did when they opened the pool.

• Tekippe told council it was time to get started on fixing the second well. He mentioned a pump had fallen into the well at one time. “We should make a reasonable attempt to get it out,” he advised.







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