Dec 21, 2020

Connie Walden Co-Presents on Water Upgrades at 2020 MWWC Virtual Training Series


Connie Walden, Ph.D., E.I., GREDELL Engineering Resources, Inc., co-presented with Elke B. Boyd, P.E., BCEE (past Gredell employee),  “City of Lanagan - Water Upgrades” for the 2020 Virtual Training Series of the Missouri Water and Wastewater Conference (MWWC). The virtual training program took place on November 30 and December 21, 2020. This virtual training provides short courses on various water and wastewater related topics that are relevant to Missouri. Follow the link for additional training information. http://www.mwwc.net/training-program.html.  

Naturally occurring radionuclides generally enter drinking water through the erosion or chemical weathering of naturally occurring mineral deposits and are common for many of Missouri’s deep-well public water supplies. Drinking water that has radionuclides in it puts you in contact with very low doses of radiation every day. There is a higher risk of getting cancer if you drink water with radionuclides in it every day for many years.

The City of Lanagan's raw well water supply has a history of exceeding the drinking water Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) for radionuclides dating back to its drilling in 1984. GREDELL Engineering has been working with the City since 2013 to help Lanagan achieve compliance with the MCL requirements of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Enforcement Actions included an Administrative Order (AO) issued by EPA on August 31, 2018. The AO included a requirement to submit an engineering report in the spring of 2019. Another Enforcement Action included an Order of Preliminary Mandatory Injunction on Consent, issued on December 4, 2018, in the Circuit Court of McDonald County. This order included, among other items, the requirements to submit an engineering report and a Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) application to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Other water system features of concern included outdated water meters, the ground storage tank  nearing failure, lack of backup water supply, inadequate hydrant coverage, inoperable distribution valves, long dead-end mains within the distribution system, and hydrants not connected to the mains with the proper materials. Gredell Engineering completed a USDA Rural Development SEARCH grant-funded engineering report in June of 2019. Due to funding constraints, the report recommended splitting the water supply improvements into two phases.

The report established the City’s eligibility for a $300,000 Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) grant paired with a $100,000 MDNR Small Borrower Loan and $500,000 grant from the Missouri Department of Econmic Development Community Development Block Grant (DED CDBG) program. Without additional bonding capacity, this extensive funding package was projected to fall short of initial upgrade project estimates by about $900,000. Late in 2019, the City became eligible for funding under the new EPA Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act, which provides Assistance for Small and Disadvantaged Communities Drinking Water Grants. Lanagan received a $733,150 WIIN grant, which will be one of the first in the nation. Paired with CDBG and the Small Borrower Loan, the total package results in funding of $1,333,000. 92.5% of the total was grant funding!

With the new funding package, Phase 1 was adjusted to include treatment for radionuclides (highest priority), rehabilitation and reinstatement of Well #2 to provide a secondary water source, replacement of the water tank, replacement of the most critical valves and hydrants, and the removal of non-functioning hydrants on small mains. Additional upgrades (as Bid Alternates on the Request for Bids)  consisted of the addition of an emergency backup generator, replacement of the remaining valves, and rehabilitation of the booster pump station. If funding becomes available for Phase 2, it may include further rehabilitation of older piping in Well #3, replacement of water mains, the addition of valves and hydrants, replacement of all water meters, and addition of distribution loops.

The combination of the poor condition of the City’s infrastructure, EPA and MDNR Enforcement action, as well as funding needs, created short deadlines for the funding agencies as well as for the design and construction of the project. This project went to bid in the spring of 2020, about 10 months after submittal of the engineering report. Treatment system and distribution upgrades began construction in July 2020 and are expected to be completed February 2021. The storage tank replacement construction begins February 2021 expected to be completed by August 2021.

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