Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Natascha Watercott
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Willow River waits on water balance test


September 13, 2018

At the September 4 Willow River City Council meeting, Councilor Vicki Whitehouse gave an update on the ongoing sewer pond repairs. She stated they are in the middle of performing a water balance test on the secondary pond which was damaged by heavy rain in 2016. This will ensure there are no leaks in the pond before the contractors begin repairs.

She added that with all the rain during the previous month, one of the three 55-gallon drums used for the test had come loose and they couldn’t get an accurate reading. However, the drums have at this time been reset and the MPCA (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency) will take new readings and average them out. The water balance test is required by the MPCA.

Fire Chief Gerard Bennett gave his fire report, stating there have been 98 runs to date this year, which is just a little above average. These calls included: one other, 21 search and rescue and 76 EMS calls. Bennett reported that Tanker #5 is being serviced at Sandstone and having a pump and possibly a hose reel installed. The fire department is looking for a 4,500-pound compressor for their SCBAs (Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus.) Bennett said they will be looking for a new or very good used one.

He also told the council the fire department may need to purchase some pagers and hand-held radios. At last month’s meeting, Bennett had explained that the fire department had not received the matching $10,000 Department of Natural Resources (DNR) grant for communications upgrades and might have to buy a few pagers for now. New pagers could cost as much as $300 each, though they may look at used ones as well.

“Pine County is looking at some grants too, so we can piggyback,” explained Bennett. “That’s what we’ve done before with them, but we just need enough [pagers] to get by right now. We’re not going to go hog-wild, just what we need to get by.”

Resident Steven Prachar asked the council to consider providing residents with a way to make electronic payments for city utilities as it would be much easier for some people to pay that way instead of coming to City Hall in person, such as if work hours conflict with City Hall hours. Council members responded they will need to conduct research to determine the cost before making any kind of decision.


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