By Katie Dahlstrom
Four options for a water source at the Lincolnway Railport remain on the table following a Clinton City Council discussion Tuesday night.
Those options range, at-first glance, from $2.7 million to $4 million, although all of them require a more in-depth review.
“Each of these options require much more legal work in the way of determining whether or not there’s interference with a franchise agreement or how to set up a city-owned utility as well as other things,” City Administrator Jessica Kinser said during the Committee of the Whole discussion. “It’s the council’s decision to determine if one of those looks more appealing than the rest and move forward with investigating.”
At the Aug. 13 Committee of the Whole meeting, the council heard three options for water at the industrial park: the city could create its own utility by constructing a well at the park for $3 million to $3.5 million or feeding the industrial park from Low Moor for $2.7 million or connect to the existing Iowa American Water system near Wild Rose Casino and Resort and extend it into the park for $2.9 million.
McClure Engineering staff, which is investigating water options for the city, was told to look into the wells at the former Hawkeye Chemical site, which is owned by Mark Cross, as a fourth option. Getting water from the Hawkeye Chemical site could cost between $4 million and $4.5 million, according to McClure’s cursory review.
The Hawkeye site contains three wells that are assumed to be able to pump 1,500 gallons per minute, though this has yet to be tested. This option would include constructing around 15,800 lineal feet of 16-inch water main and 1,800 lineal feet of 12-inch water main.
A 300,000-gallon water tower would need to be built to meet future peak demand and fire protection flow of 2,500 gallons per minute. The water tower also would require some additional infrastructure.
The information from McClure states all three wells would be available for $750,000. However, At-large Councilwoman Jennifer Graf said after a conversation with Cross, the actual price would be $800,000 for each well, adding another $1.6 million to the estimated cost.
Further, it’s known that brownfields, areas of contaminated soil and/or groundwater are in the general area of the wells. Brownfield remediation wasn’t included in the $4 million cost.
Mayor Mark Vulich reiterated the point that the information on each of the options left many questions unanswered and more information would become available that would help the council decide what direction to take.
“No one of these options is a clear-cut winner. Every one of them has good and bad and that’s the reason why we’re using the information to, based on the information we found out, go forward and to look at what kind of money there is, what type of grants there are, what our options are,” Mayor Mark Vulich said. “It’s a process that’s going to take a few more months to materialize by what we find.”
The railport’s first tenants, RAIL.ONE and Nevada Railroad Materials, Inc. will be served by a well that RAIL.ONE constructed as part of a deal with the city of Clinton. Officials would like to have water service to the industrial park in place before the next tenants arrive, but they don’t have a set deadline for solving the water conundrum.
“It’s an ongoing project. We want to be able to find the best solution for the community,” Vulich added.