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Bids will be sought next month for sewer work at Diamond Lake

WILLMAR -- Bids are being sought for a project to bring sanitary sewer service to residents around Diamond Lake.

At its meeting Tuesday the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners accepted the plans and specifications and authorized engineers to seek bids for a project that could link the Diamond Lake homes to the Green Lake Sanitary Sewer and Water District, based in Spicer.

Bids will be opened May 18.

If the price is favorable, the project could get the go-ahead on the evening of May 21, when the commissioners are scheduled to hold an informational meeting and public hearing with residents.

If the project is approved, the commissioners are also expected to authorize advertising for bonds to pay for the $6 million project.

Any potential action would take place at the conclusion of the public hearing, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. May 21 at the Atwater Community Center. The informational meeting will begin at 6 p.m.

Brad DeWolf, engineer with Bolton & Menk Inc. of Willmar, said Tuesday that 250 Diamond Lake property owners are "committed" to hooking up to the Green Lake Sanitary Sewer and Water District and 14 are undecided.

Another 55 homeowners are still living in their winter homes and haven't returned to Minnesota yet. DeWolf said he's been communicating with the snowbirds via telephone and mail and expects to meet with them in person in the next couple weeks to find out if they intend to hook up to the system.

The issue of replacing Diamond Lake septic systems with the Green Lake Sanitary Sewer and Water District service has been debated for more than five years.

While not all the Diamond Lake residents favor hooking up to the sewer and water district, the resistance lessened somewhat after the city of Kandiyohi agreed to abandon its municipal sewage treatment system waste in favor of utilizing the local district's system.

The city received a $3 million federal stimulus grant that pays for most of the cost of installing the 13-mile trunk line from Kandiyohi to Spicer.

The grant saved each Diamond Lake homeowner about $2,000 in reduced costs for the trunk line, which goes past Diamond Lake.

Based on estimates, the project could cost property owners $16,329 in construction fees and $500 in annual operating costs.

Pending the May 21 action, construction could begin in June and be completed in September of 2011.

In other business:

- The commissioners approved a bid of $30,275 for installing soil borings in an old section of the landfill as part of a plan to track a plume of pollution. A bid of $57,180 for groundwater sample analyses and a bid of $13,720 for air sample analyses were also approved.

- County Attorney Boyd Beccue said a plan to send disclosure documents electronically to defense attorneys has been rejected by the Minnesota Board of Public Defense because of a technological inability to receive large digital documents. Information copied to a CD-ROM will be accepted. While not as convenient as transmitting digitally, Beccue said using CDs will reduce spending taxpayer money to copy and mail hundreds of pages of documents a week.

- Nonprofit organizations with a cash flow of less than $750,000, including Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center, will not be required to conduct a costly annual audit.

Carolyn Lange

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

(320) 894-9750