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Lake Florida sewer project moves swiftly

SPICER -- A project to install a low-pressure sanitary sewer collection system around Lake Florida is progressing well and earning high praise from property owners.

Jim Gunter, who lives on the east side of the lake, said there have been "no complaints" from the lake's residents.

"It's going very, very well," said Gunter, who is also a member of the Lake Florida Improvement Association.

Rather than digging a trench to install the four-inch service lines to the individual lots, a method called "directional boring" is being used to slide the lines under roads without disrupting the surface.

Construction crews dig straight down for about 7 feet, make a horizontal turn to tunnel under the tar road that circles Lake Florida "and then they pop up into the yards," said Gary Danielson, Kandiyohi County public works director. "It's kind of an amazing thing to watch."

The major advantage of the system is that roads, lawns and landscaping are not torn up in the process, Danielson said.

"We're just very happy with how things are going out there," Danielson said. "It's going as well as anybody could have expected."

Once the service lines are installed to the lots, grinder pumps will be installed to transfer sewage from the homes to the collection line.

Gunter said crews from GM Contracting from Lake Crystal have been "very courteous" and have made the construction process as painless as possible. Water is used in the drilling process and sometimes the water "bubbles up" onto private property, Gunter said, and crews are "right there to vacuum it up."

Danielson said he's received "a lot of positive comments on the contractor." He said people are "very impressed with the work they're doing."

The $4.9 million project, which was requested by Lake Florida residents, began in July. It won't be completed until next summer, but a number of the 200 homes on the lake will be hooked up by mid-October, including a half-dozen who are in critical need of the service, said Danielson.

GM's portion of the project will cost $2,687,567. Duininck Bros. Construction has the job of installing about six miles of trunk line from Lake Florida to the Green Lake Sanitary Sewer and Water District's system in Spicer. That part of the project will cost $1,549,160.

The state's Public Facilities Authority is providing low-cost funding for the project. The low-interest loan includes $1.2 million at zero interest with payback in 24 years, and $3.7 million has a 1 percent interest rate. Assessments for installing the loop around the lake and hooking into the system are estimated at $17,200.

Danielson said residents in the Hidden Springs development, which have their own cluster system, were not required to hook into the system or pay the $7,200 base fee. He said, however, it's possible those residents may opt to have the sewage from their cluster system transferred to the new collection line and treated at the GLSSWD facility. He said the group is discussing those options this weekend.

The Kandiyohi County Commissioners are also considering extending the service from Lake Florida to George, Henderson and Nest Lakes.

An informational meeting was held Friday night with residents from thos lakes and another is being held from 9-11 a.m. today at the Kandiyohi County Health and Human Services building.

Earlier this month, the Commissioners agreed to delay discussion with Diamond Lake residents for a similar project because a majority of residents indicated they didn't favor the proposal.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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