City of Bland continues water infrastructure replacement, tanks offline

By Roxie Murphy, Staff Writer
Posted 10/20/21

BLAND — The city of Bland is working with crews from Magi Corporation, Inc., headquartered in Rolla, this week to refurbish water storage tanks according to Mayor Lee Medlock.

“Right …

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City of Bland continues water infrastructure replacement, tanks offline

Posted

BLAND — The city of Bland is working with crews from Magi Corporation, Inc., headquartered in Rolla, this week to refurbish water storage tanks according to Mayor Lee Medlock.

“Right now the storage tanks are unhooked and water is going from the chlorinator straight to the water tower,” Medlock said Tuesday morning. “Magi is getting ready to lay water lines and crews are running around town getting set up. We are getting ready to do a lot of stuff.”

Medlock said that Public Works Director Jason Lewis has the water situation figured out.

“Somebody has to be there every day to fill the water tower up in the morning,” Medlock said. “It takes two to three hours and then shuts the pumps off until we do it again the next morning. No water pressure issues or dirty water. Once they start hooking lines back up, we may run into some dirty water.”

Pipes will most likely be replaced one neighborhood at a time.

“If it gets bad, we will send a notice out,” Medlock said. “The city is still chlorinating the water right now.”

The old tower will be taken offline once the new tower is built.

City officials have been actively working to replace water infrastructure for more than six years. Line items have been added and subtracted as grant and inflation funds increased. Now the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds will allow for some items to be re-added. “We added our ARPA money to this,” Medlock said. “We got part of it and the rest of it next year. We are going back with the (automatic radio) meter reads.”

Medlock said the city has received $53,000 from the ARPA funds so far and expects to receive the same amount again next year. They have decided to retain part-time seasonal employee Dave Hefflin to help with the water project. His full-time salary will be paid for with ARPA funds as well.

“Part of that too — Terris Cates (Integrity Engineering) is checking into trying to add more pipeline with those funds,” Medlock said. “Part of that money should be more than enough to do the water meters and software because we have to buy the readers too. By the time we buy all of that, there may be enough left over to add in more water lines. Terris has a better pinpoint on what that will look like.”

The city also sent a letter to Gasconade County commissioners requesting about $100,000 additional ARPA funds to support their water infrastructure project.

“The county has their own ARPA money and we requested help through the county to receive some of theirs for the items we left out,” Medlock said. “Jerry Lairmore (Gasconade County commissioner) was at the meeting (Oct. 12) and he isn’t sure what they are going to use all the money on. We did request part of it since the last time they got stimulus, Bland city didn't get any of it.”

While the ARPA funds could have been spent on other projects, the Bland Board of Aldermen were advised by their grant administrator, Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC), that the already approved water infrastructure project would easily benefit from the additional funds.

While the project is being conducted, contractors are storing their supplies at the Bland City Park.

“The park will be closed from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. and gates will be locked,” Medlock said. “Bathrooms will also be winterized.”

Medlock said closing the park and locking the gates was something the city did in the past, but stopped. The ongoing vandalism and trespassing issues they have had recently prompted them to reinstate the policy.

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