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Local laundromat granted water evaporation allowance

Nancy and Jay Kinkel, along with daughters Sarena, Natalie and Brittany, operate Kinkel Laundry in Park Rapids. The laundromat was granted a 5 percent reduction to the sewer part of the water bill for evaporation. (Anna Erickson/Enterprise)

Jay Kinkel, with Kinkel Laundry, will receive a 5 percent reduction to the sewer part of the laundromat's water bill.

He asked the Park Rapids City Council for a water evaporation allowance Tuesday night as he presented facts and data supporting the request. The water evaporation allowance is to account for the water that stays in clothes after washing and does not go down the sewer.

Kinkel provided information from the Coin Laundry Association, a national non-profit organization. The water evaporation allowance has been happening in more and more communities across the country, he said.

He is not aware of any other laundromats in Minnesota receiving a sewer discount but he thought his facts provided enough support for the council to grant the request.

He presented the council with information explaining a formula that determines the amount of water that is left in the clothing and not going into the city sewer system. He was able to test it out on a load of clothing he washed himself.

Some councilmembers expressed concern with setting precedence and opening a "can of worms."

But they also agreed that Kinkel presented compelling proof that a percentage of water was not going into the sewer system and this isn't something that would occur in many other businesses.

"This makes sense and I don't think it would be unreasonable" to grant the allowance, said councilwoman Sue Tomte.

City staff recommended not granting the water evaporation allowance because of the precedence it could set.

Kinkel explained that he and his family (wife, Nancy, and three children, Brittany, Sarena and Natalie) are already practicing "going green" with the laundromat.

The washers are high efficiency front load and use much less water than top load washers. Also, the water pipes and electrical work in the building are insulated. The laundromat, which opened eight years ago in April, was built with "green" in mind.

"When you use as much water as a laundromat does you need to figure out ways to conserve water and energy," Kinkel said.

Water bills had been increasing over the years and when Kinkel heard about the water evaporation allowance he began his research.

"Laundries really are in the water conservation business," he said. Many use high-efficiency washers that use less water than many home machines.

The council decided to approve the water evaporation allowance for Kinkel Laundry with a 5 percent reduction on the sewer part of the bill.

The Kinkels also own Lakeview Laundry in Walker. Jay Kinkel plans to ask the Walker City Council for a water evaporation allowance, too.

"It's simple," he said. "If you think about it, all the water that goes into the laundromat doesn't go out."

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561