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City works to safeguard water

By By Mitch Freeman Madison County Record
Madison Water and Wastewater Department General Manager Whitey Bressette is taking steps to protect Gillespie well, the city's third most productive water source.
Bressette is in the process of purchasing about 10 acres of property from George Betts, which includes Betts Springs.
Betts Springs supplies water to Gillespie well. By purchasing this property, Bressette said the city can prevent development of the Betts wetlands and avoid potential well contamination.
According to Bressette, between 1,000 and 1,500 gallons of ground water per minute is pumped from Gillespie well. Water from the well is treated at nearby Keene Water Treatment Plant.
In order to acquire the Betts wetlands, the city had to purchase approximately 70 acres, 60 acres of which were purchased almost a year ago. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be consulted to determine how much of the Betts wetlands should be protected to preserve the integrity of the ground water, Bressette said.
Only the property required for protection of the Betts wetlands will be retained by the city. The rest will likely be sold. Bressette roughly estimated the city will retain around 15 acres.
Bressette did not disclose financial details because the purchase is still in negotiation.
In other recent water board business:
* Bressette asked the board to approve the sole-source purchase of two submersible pumps from Jim House &Associates. He said these particular pumps provide the quality service they require and that other pumps they have tried do not. However, the control panel for the pumps will be purchased by bid. The pumps will cost $35,090.The two pumps, a primary and a backup will be used in the McCrary trunk line on highway 72.
* Construction drawings for the new Balch Road elementary school were approved, contingent upon annexation of the land. Approval of construction drawings allows construction to begin on utility infrastructure.
* The board also approved construction drawings for Cedar Springs Station IV and Shamrock subdivision phase III. This action involves 45 residential lots.
* Dedications of improvement were approved for Cedar Springs Station phase III and Ashley Greens phase V. Dedication of improvement approval allows house construction to begin. This action involves 40 residential lots.
* Final plats were approved for Rainbow Landing and Heritage Provence III, accounting for 72 new residential lots. Final plat approval allows lots to be sold.
Water and wastewater board approval recommendations move on to the city's planning and zoning board for their review and recommendation to the city council.
* Bressette told the board the city's new wastewater treatment plant is operating well and that there have been no Environmental Protection Agency violations.

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