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Park Rapids delves into water study

Water supply will be studied. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

Park Rapids is continuing an in-depth water study to address persistent nitrate issues.

City engineer Jon Olson and colleague Bala Vairavan, with Ulteig Engineers in Fargo, N.D., presented an update to the city council Wednesday night.

A water treatment facility is one of the last options available to the city to provide clean water. A cost estimate shows a facility would cost $2,482,300.

Currently, the city uses well water primarily from shallow wells 5 and 6 but includes water from deep well 8 during periods of high demand.

Water from the shallow aquifer has been seeing increasing levels of nitrates, which is a health concern. The deep aquifer has increasing levels of iron, which, while not a health concern, creates staining and taste concerns.

The system is operating at peak capacity and is able to meet maximum demand due to water storage. The average daily demand is 430 gallons per minute and maximum daily demand is 859 gallons per minute.

Dave Hume conducted a hydrogeologic assessment and determined the Upper Confined Aquifer is the best source for developing a well field for the city. He is still determining the best aquifer and location of a well field.

He recommends continuing baseline groundwater level monitoring in collaboration with the Department of Natural Resources on select observation wells.

Hume will also be sampling select wells to better characterize the groundwater chemistry study area.

After the monitoring and sampling are completed, subsurface exploration will be done and a test well will be installed. Aquifer pump testing will be done as well.

The project is on schedule to have test wells drilled by the end of August and a test pump done in September. A pilot test will be conducted from mid-September through October.

Olson recommends design work over the winter with construction next spring. Funding for the project hasn't been determined but several grants have been applied for through the state.