Cloudy water comped for Northview Drive homes
February 11. 2014 1:18PM
More than a dozen homes in northeast Dell Rapids won’t have to pay for any water used until officials at City Hall come up with a plan to solve the discolored water issue plaguing the neighborhood.
After another round of complaints from residents at Northview Drive Monday, Feb. 3 during the Dell Rapids City Council’s regular meeting, aldermen voted 5-2 to wave water bills for 16 homes along Northview Drive and one block of 11th Street.
Councilor Lee Burggraff made the motion when Northview Drive resident Kellee Miles complained that the neighborhood was still experiencing yellow water.
“I don’t think I should have to pay for this water. That’s a real big issue with me right now,” she said.
Miles scolded the council for not taking more decisive action to solve the problem. In December, the council voted to replace the Northview Drive water line, but rescinded the decision at the next meeting, opting to monitor the situation until April 1.
“I don’t understand how you can vote to fix my pipes one meeting and then the next meeting a councilman says he was under duress,” Miles said last week. “Nobody was holding a gun to his head.”
Miles said she feels like the council is minimizing the issue.
Burggraff assured Miles that Northview Drive’s water problems are a priority for him and his colleagues at City Hall. But it would be irresponsible to commit to replacing a water line without absolute certainty that doing so will resolve the neighborhood’s water issues, he said.
“The only reason we pushed the commitment (to replace the water line) out was, what if that’s not the problem?” Burggraff said. “We want to find out if that really is the problem, so that we don’t go in there and fix it, and find out we still have the problem.”
The committee formed to investigate and monitor the water quality on Northview Drive is prepared to recommend replacing the line if it hasn’t cleared up by April 1, he said.
In the meantime, Dell Rapids City Administrator Justin Weiland said the water is safe to drink, despite higher-than-normal levels or iron and manganese.
“(Those elements) may affect the cosmetic effects … but in general it is safe to consume,” he said.
The water samples tested were taken from three properties – two on Northview Drive and one on 10th Street.
Councilors Dave Sommerfeld, a Northview Drive resident, abstained from voting. Councilors Craig Laurtitzen and Chad Andrews voted no.
Weiland estimated the free water for the 16 homes would cost the city about $1,000 in lost revenue.