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Blomkest-Svea sanitary sewer ponds receive preliminary OK by board

Evelyn Larson of Svea and Grant Christianson listen to the Planning Commission's decision Monday on sanitary sewer ponds that would service the Blomkest and Svea communities. Tribune photo by Ron Adams

WILLMAR -- A conditional use permit to build a wastewater stabilization pond to treat municipal sewage from the Blomkest and Svea communities was approved Monday by the Kandiyohi County Planning Commission.

The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners will take final action Dec. 16. The project has been in the works for four years, said Jim Bullert, project engineer. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has given its preliminary approval, he said.

Bullert said they searched for a year to find an appropriate site that provided a big enough separation from groundwater, had clay available for the liner and was available for sale.

The selected site is on a hill in Whitefield Township.

But two families who live close by said the first they heard of the project was Nov. 26 when they got a letter telling them about Monday night's hearing before the county Planning Commission.

"There should be some other place other than my front door," said Evelyn Larson, who was concerned the close proximity would bring bad odors in the wind and could harm her well.

Ben Jansen said he was concerned wastewater from pond could seep into the 17-acre wetland he's been restoring. He fears the pond will lower property values on his home.

Grant Christianson, another area landowner, said he's in favor of the municipal wastewater system but said there should be protection for people who live close to the ponds, like Evelyn Larson, because they'll bear the greatest burden. He suggested a row of trees be planted as a barrier.

Bullert said except for a few weeks in the spring, the pond will not smell. It will also be tested for seepage before wastewater is put into it.

"I just don't think it's right," said Larson. "And why does it have to go so fast?"

Bullert said a public hearing had been held in the past during the planning phase of the project and a legal notice was put in the newspaper.

Jansen and Larson said they never saw the notice and weren't aware of the project, or that it would be so close to their homes, until 10 days ago.

"Can I have some time to think this over?" asked Larson.

"I'm not sure you do," responded Ed Huseby, chairman of the Planning Commission.

In approving the permit, the Planning Commission did agree to add a condition to require that a shelter belt of trees be planted on the north and west sides.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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