Park Rapids implements watering ban today
The threat of faltering water pressure has caused Park Rapids to implement a watering and irrigation ban for the city effective immediately.
The council passed a resolution last month to protect its fragile well system from depletion and ensure quality drinking water and pressure. The city decided today was the day to implement it, according to city clerk Margie Vik.
"They want to allow watering for 20 minutes on Mondays and Thursdays maximum. No watering the rest of the week," she said.
"This doesn't include drinking water or baths. It's for lawns only."
The resolution states: "Use of municipal water for lawn sprin-kling/irrigation/car washing/swimming pools is banned starting at the discretion of city staff and ending on Aug. 31, 2012."
Violators will receive a written warning the first time and a $50 fine the next.
"The third violation shall result in the Public Works Department disconnecting the service at the street until the resident agrees to comply with the restrictions. A separate fee will be assessed for the disconnect and for the reconnect," the resolution states.
Public Works Director Scott Burlingame said only two of the city's wells are operational due to nitrate levels that exceed recommended guidelines, so those two wells are under great pressure when residents water their lawns.
"We can't pump enough water," Burlingame said. A water shortage looms unless use is severely curtailed.
Commercial car washes can continue to operate, Burlingame.
"We're going to just start there," Burlingame said.