Wastewater plant, water tower need upgrading soon

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Benson’s wastewater treatment plant is facing an estimated $2.9 million in major renovations to upgrade equipment that is operating well beyond its expected lifetime. Those repairs will need to take place in the next couple years.

The city’s 500,000-gallon water tower also needs work that includes painting both the inside and outside of the tank. But this isn’t any simple paint job. Painting of the water tower is an integral part of its integrity and upkeep, Benson City Manager Rob Wolfington told the city council at its meeting Monday night.

It could cost between $500,000 and $600,000 to have the water tower painted.

When it is being painted it will be out of service, which means the city’s drinking water system will have to provide the pressure needed for the homes and businesses in the community without the water tower.

Director of Public Works Dan Gens told the council that the city’s water system, with its pumps, should be able to provide that water pressure. However, a planned test of the system to see if it could handle the job was delayed. It will be tested before the water tower is taken out of service, he told the council.

Much like the wastewater treatment plant, the water tower has exceeded its useful life, an engineer with Stantec Consulting Services, Inc., a Twin Cities engineering firm, said during a conference call with the council Monday night.

At the wastewater treatment plant, the filters, an essential part of the function to purify wastewater to meet Minnesota Pollution Control Agency standards before it goes into the Chippewa River, are failing. To replace them will cost an estimated $1.2 million.  

The filters, which were originally installed in 1982, are not easy to repair if they break down. The average useful life of such filters is 20 to 25 years – Benson’s have been in service for nearly 35 years. The filters are structurally deteriorating and are a high priority to replace, the council was told....


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