$12 million intake just turned on Wednesday

Council misled at meeting Tuesday
By: 
KATHLEEN GILLULY
Outlook managing editor
Outlook photo by David Keyes.  Since this photo was taken in April, work on Laurel’s new intake has been completed. The city’s Public Works Director Kurt Markegard told the city council at Tuesday evening’s workshop meeting that the intake was in operation. According to Nathan Herman the city’s chief operator at the water treatment plant, the new intake hadn’t been in use at all.
Outlook photo by David Keyes. Since this photo was taken in April, work on Laurel’s new intake has been completed. The city’s Public Works Director Kurt Markegard told the city council at Tuesday evening’s workshop meeting that the intake was in operation. According to Nathan Herman the city’s chief operator at the water treatment plant, the new intake hadn’t been in use at all.

Despite assurances from Public Works Director Kurt Markegard to Laurel’s City Council members at Tuesday evening’s workshop that the new water intake was being used, it wasn’t put online until Wednesday.
In response to queries from the Outlook on Wednesday morning Nathan Herman, Chief Operator at the Water Treatment Plant said that it hadn’t been in use at all.
“We actually haven’t been on it yet,” he said. “We thought we had been, but when we closed it to replace some valves that weren’t working we discovered we hadn’t been using it at all.” He said that since that time the new intake had remained offline.
Markegard called the Outlook Wednesday afternoon to report the intake had been put online.
“I had talked to the chief operator a few weeks ago and was under the impression that it was working, although that was mistaken,” Markegard said. “As of today it is on and pumping water.”
At Tuesday’s meeting, Markegard told the council that both intakes were being used. He said the new intake had to be monitored by staff so that too much water didn’t overtake the system, which is why it wasn’t in use full-time. Markegard said building the new Sedimentation Basin would resolve that problem. He also said the old system would remain in use as backup.
When asked flat out by Councilwoman Emelie Eaton if the new intake was being used, Markegard said it was.
After admitting her had been wrong, on Wednesday, Markegard said the intake was working fine and the pumps would not be reliant on the SED basin.
“Apparently we were waiting for the turbidity to go down so we wouldn’t have so much sediment in the line,” Markegard said. “But it is operational now.”
The entire council meeting can be viewed at www.laureloutlook.com

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