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Water pumping test showing positive results

A water pumping test is nearing completion in Park Rapids. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

A water pumping test in Park Rapids is netting positive results so far, according to engineers.

"It's going great," said Ulteig Engineers' Bala Vairavan. "We've had good, positive results and are moving on to the next step with pilot testing."

The test well, located near the northwest water tower, is pumping water from an aquifer about 160 feet deep.

"It's a little deeper to stay away from the nitrates," Vairavan said.

This week, a trailer will be set up onsite and water testing will be done. It's kind of a "mini water treatment plant," Vairavan said.

Tests will be done to verify the well is feasible for the city.

The purpose of the testing is to better characterize the quantity and quality of this aquifer, which is currently being investigated as a possible supplemental water source for the city and to meet the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources water appropriation permit requirements.

As part of the test, some private domestic and irrigation wells in the area of the well field are being monitored as well.

After water testing, Ulteig Engineers will work on some design parameters for a water treatment facility, which 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, creates staining and taste concerns.

The system has been 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.

The new test well is pumping close to 1,100 gallons per minute.

A tentative schedule was released that recommended 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.

Vairavan said a report will be made to the Park Rapids City Council in late November.

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