Wausaukee Is Looking At Possible New WellIssue Date: May 17, 2017
The Village of Wausaukee should put in a a new well soon, but it is not a dire emergency, the Village Board was told by Cedar Corporation Consultant Dean Zanon at its meeting on Monday, May 15.
In April, the village was ordered by Wendy Anderson of the DNR to shut down Well No. 1 and seal it off because nitrate levels exceeded the level determined to be safe for consumption, especially by infants and young children. Well No. 3, now the sole well for the village, supplies ample high quality water to meet the needs of the village.
Village officials have been ordered to attend an enforcement conference at the DNR offices in Green Bay at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, May 24, but were advised they may not need to attend because the high nitrate well already has been officially and physically closed and sealed off from the distribution system. Action at the meeting included unanimous approval of a resolution formally closing Well No. 1 in accord with the DNR requirement. The physical closing has already been done, with photos as proof sent to the DNR.
Clerk/Treasurer Sara Pullen said Anderson told her only "an emergency of cataclysmic proportions" could cause her to allow re-opening of that well.
A new well is expected to cost $650,000 to $700,000, but grants typically pay about half the total cost. Funding may be available for next year, and the board tentatively agreed to hire Cedar Corp to go forward with some studies needed for grant applications. Formal approval of a contract with Cedar is expected at the board's next regular meeting, which will be on Monday, June 19.
The report by Zanon was just a small part of an action-filled meeting that lasted nearly a full three hours, and included naming Jerry and Darlene Wojcik Parade Marshals for the Independence Day Parade to be held at 1 pm. on Saturday, July 1 as part of a day-long celebration.
The board took formal action to join the Northwoods Municipal Court and establish the position of Village Constable; approve several revisions to the Employee Handbook; approve a driveway permit for the DNR for a new building at 1150 Railroad Street; and authorized Clerk/Treasurer Sara Pullen to attend the 2017 Payroll Law training session in Green Bay in July.
Working hours and pay for the constable and qualifications and training needed for the position still must be determined by the village board. Radtke indicated intentions are to hire someone who is already a trained law enforcement officer living in the village. Christ said she is happy the village now can enforce ordinances. She said people should be forewarned that what is now a $25 citation penalty can easily grow to $79.50 once it goes to court. She thanked Pullen for working out details of the municipal court and meeting with the judge and clerk of courts to get the information the board needed.
Trustees Mack McKim, Ray Gordon and Jolene Christ were appointed to the Wausaukee Plan Commission with Trustee Kyle Stumbris as an alternate. Continuing members are Dave Messar, Ruth Jicha, June Caine and Ron Christ, husband of Trustee Christ.
Village President Hilbert Radtke announced that Randolph "Randy" Stumbris, has been hired on April 24 as the summer seasonal groundskeeper for the village.
There was considerable discussion before changes in the employee handbook setting wages were approved. Pullen stressed that she was not asking for a raise for herself or anyone else at this time, but felt the top level salaries were unrealistically low, and allowed current employees no way to move up. Trustee Christ said they could look at changing that next year. By a four to three vote the board approved Christ's recommendations. Voting against adopting the pay schedule as proposed were McKim, Tracy and Radtke. Votes in favor were cast by Christ, Stumbris, Randy Schmidt and Gordon.
Informally, the board praised Wausaukee Recreation Association for organizing a Little League Tournament that had attracted over 500 visitors to the village over the May 13 weekend and resulted in renting of five campground spaces that otherwise would have been vacant. Radtke thanked Streets Supervisor Dennis Whitton for taking his own time to mow the ball fields Friday night in preparation for the tournament, and thanked the Recreation Association for organizing the tournament. He said they have provided new $6,000 backstops and new dugouts there and put concrete in front of the old dugouts, all at no cost to the village. Trustee Stumbris said he was unable to get the new sound system installed in time for this tournament, but it will be done soon.
"That ball diamond is becoming a first class place," Radtke declared. "It's an asset to the community!"
Christ had asked if the Town of Wausaukee shares in the cost of the moving, since village equipment was used. Radtke and others said the town and village share many things without charging one another, for example the town does mowing along many roadsides in the village at no charge. Christ wanted to e sure the town understands care of the ball fields "is a 50/50 deal". Stumbris explained the village and town each put in $1,000 a year for care of the ball fields, and maintenance costs come out of that.
Radtke said he had a request from an individual wanting to put a memorial rock in the flower garden near Krist Oil in memory of the person who was killed there. Other board members felt there is no problem as long as it is a flat or low rock and does not get turned into a shrine where people come with offerings.
Radtke said the DNR does not intend to provide and trees, shrubs or flowers around the welcome monuments at each end of the village. Radtke said the two options now for the village are to either pay themselves for the plantings that had been planned, or "keep mowing, and decide in a couple of years if we want plantings." The board, with urging from Whitton, opted to keep mowing.
The board formally approved a permanent easement agreement with Roger and Ruth Jahnke regarding Merrill Street. The agreement now goes to the Planning commission.
Informally, the board agreed to keep attempting to find a solution to a serious problem with storm water runoff dumping sand and debris onto the property of Lisa Tracy at 1128 County C. Tracy explained the problem and showed photos to the board. Trustee Ray Gordon said he had gone to look at possible solutions and with village employees had cleaned out one end of a culvert on C, which they thought should help a bit. County C is being repaved, and hopes are that some of the work there may help. Tracy said Streets Supervisor Dennis Whitton recently had taken three scoops of dirt out of their driveway with the Bobcat. She said if a culvert is needed they would pitch in to help pay for it. Radtke asked Whitton to go out with a metal detector to see if there are metal culverts buried that used to divert the runoff there. Tracy asked board members to come by after the next heavy rain to see where the water comes from, and then brainstorm possible solutions. Randy Stumbris said he and Trustee Ray Gordon had looked pretty hard at the situation and felt the old concrete put in the Tracy yard had also contributed to the problem. The quest for solution will continue.
The board also agreed to not buy a new front end loader at this time, even though that decision led to giving up a $50,000 grant that would have paid for one third of the machine. Another third could have been raised by selling some pieces of equipment the new machine would replace, but the purchase would have still required spending an additional $50,000.
Side streets with access onto Hwy. 141 are currently being done, and Whitton commented they are making something of a mess, so sweeping on Main Street has not been done. Trustee Christ said he should contact the DOT to see if they will pay to clean it up when everything is finished.
Overall, Zanon told the board their water system is in good shape. The water tower holds a 3-day supply, and two days is generally considered good, he said. If the well would be shut down, the village would still have the water it needs, including enough for fire protection.
There has been a problem with nitrates in the water and Well No. 1 has been shut down as the result of a DNR order.
Zanon told the board there always were nitrates in the remaining well, "but around 2013 they started tending upward."
Supervisor Jolene Christ said a neighboring farm had put a big pit manure system only 750 feet from the village's remaining well, and wondered how that could have been permitted, since the well head has a 750 foot protection area.
Supervisor Pat Tracy explained the pit "is like a giant swimming pool," and said it was approved by the DNR. It is all self contained, and has a spillage tank that then goes into a septic system.
Supervisor Ray Gordon pointed out the farm uses deeper wells on the same property to water its herd, which produces Grade A milk.
Zanon urged no one to point fingers, and commented, "There are a lot of things to sort out here. He said the village well is shallow, and there could be a number of factors, among them a storm water runoff area that is not far away.
On a happier note, Zanon said the way the village wells are currently situated is ideal from a distribution standpoint, with one on the east and one on the west and the water tower centrally located. He suggested perhaps a deeper well at or near the current location might be good, but felt it would be better to go elsewhere, perhaps on the north side of the school. Much of the village is eliminated due to the minimal distance between surface and bedrock. There is much data available from other wells drilled in the area, so possible sites for ample water with good quality can be narrowed down a bit.
Zanon said when the village is ready to do another well, Cedar Corp would do some test wells for information on quantity and quality of water. "There's not a dire need right now, but it is in your best interest to plan ahead," he advised. Christ recalled they had spent money a few years ago for some test wells. Radtke recalled spending $30,000.
Zanon said Cedar Corp would do some tests at no charge. They could then check the score and if they have enough points for funding they could get the engineering and design work done.
"You have a pretty serious situation here, with the nitrates and since you now have only one well, you should get extra points," Zanon told them. He said the village is eligible for Community Development Block Grants as well as grants or a low interest loan from the Clean Water Fund. He said if they want to get Clean Water funding for a well in 2018 they need to have all plans and specifications in place before June of that year.
He suggested as its next step the village should do some exploratory wells. His firm would have to charge something for test wells and well locations.
Because there is now only one well, at Schmidt's suggestion the board agreed to hold off on painting the water tower, which had bene planned for this year. Whitton said the pump would need to run 24/7 while the work was being done, since it would involve draining the water tower.
Radtke mentioned an option other than a new well might be putting a treatment plant at Well No. 1 to remove the nitrates before the water goes out, but feeling was that would be more costly than a new well. Zanon predicted cost for that would exceed $1 million for one well. However he will look into the possibility. Mixing water from the two wells to get a lower total nitrate number was also a suggestion.
The studies his firm will probably be hired to do next are all needed to apply for the grants anyway. Zanon said grant opportunities to explore include Rural Development, CDBG, DNR and the Clean Water Fund. He said one northern community got 100 percent funding by getting grants from all three sources.
Open Book for village assessments will be on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 from 10 a.m. through noon. Board of Review will be on Wednesday, June 14, from 3 p.m. to to 5 p.m.
Leaf and brush pickup started on Wednesday, May 15, and is to continue through Friday, June 19. The annual Spring Cleanup Day will be on Saturday, May 20.
Recent stories, opinions and photos