Crane Lake, Minnesota Water & Sanitary District  
Crane Lake, Minnesota Water & Sanitary District - Menu



August 17, 2005 – 7:30 PM



The meeting was called to order by Chairman Rob Scott at 7:30PM.


Members present:  Managers Bud Bystrom, Deena Congdon, Darrell Scott, Rob Scott, and Mike White.

Members absent:  None

Also present:  Jim Pucel of RLK-Kuusisto, Mike Appelwick and Jim Pohlman of NTS, Deb Lindlief of the MPCA, reporters from the Cook News-Herald, Voyageur Sentinel and Timberjay, and 8 members of the community.


Chairman R. Scott changed the order of the Agenda, as Mike Appelwick and Jim Pucel had not arrived.


Invoices on Hand:  Treasurer D. Congdon reviewed the Unpaid Bills Detail and recommended payment of the following Plant Operation bills:  Anderson Outfitters – $605.00; Frontier – $110.81 and $43.25; Hawkins – $309.62; Jenia’s Appliance & TV – $400.00; Malton Electric – $386.11; and Quality Flow – $5,060.00 for a total of $6,914.79.  A motion was made by D. Scott, supported by D. Congdon, to pay the bills.  Discussion followed.  M. White voiced a concern that payment of bills would trigger an inter-fund transfer from the Administrative Account to the Plant Operations Account as funds are low in the Plant Operations Account.  Scott Harder had recommended being careful about inter-fund transfers for payment of invoices for the flooding problem without looking into the legality of such action.  M. White recommended getting a legal opinion on bill payment.  Treasurer D. Congdon stated that Operating Funds were being used for the current Invoices on Hand.  Chairman R. Scott called for a vote on the motion.  The vote was as follows:  D. Scott – yes, B. Bystrom – no, M. White – no, D. Congdon – yes, R. Scott – yes.  Motion carried.


Loan Closing:  R. Scott stated that he had communicated with Alicia Cope of Cope & Peterson regarding the recording and certification of the plat as it affects the loan closing.  It appears that that portion will not be ready on September 1st as anticipated. Roger Clapp of Rural Development is now targeting September 23rd as the loan closing date.  The loan closing should be held before the end of September to lock in the interest rate.  R. Scott will have more information from the attorney at the September meeting.


Treatment Plant:

  • Background & Incidents:  R. Scott stated that Deb Lindlief of the MPCA was present and then asked M. Appelwick for a summary of the incidents.  On July 3rd a power failure occurredwhich shut down the Programmable Logic Controller (PLC).  The floor and some of the equipment of the plant was covered in partially treated wastewater.  The flow was isolated at the sand filter.  Wastewater was pumped off the floor to protect the equipment.  A tank truck was brought in; some of the wastewaterwas discharged to a swale near the plant. Approximately 9,000 gallons of water was involved.
  • The recirculating pump was repaired, other equipment was dried out and repaired; and wastewater was stored in the sand filter to be treated later.
  • Another power failure occurred on July 15th and semi-treated wastewater again overflowed into the plant; a tanker truck was called.  The tanker transported some of the wastewater to the Orr treatment plant and again some wastewater was stored in the sand filter.  Approximately 12,000 gallons was involved; approximately 5,000 flowed out the plant door.
  • The MPCA was notified according to procedure for each incident and effluent was sampled and found to be at safe limits for an emergency situation.
  • R. Scott asked what the impact was between the plant and the lake.  Deb Lindlief, the MPCA Compliance person for the CLWSD from Duluth and MPCA Engineer Jeff Udd of Duluth agreed that they were less concerned about the incidents as the wastewater was nearly fully treated.  Ms. Lindlief further stated that sunshine and rain would further treat the wastewater before it reaches the lake, a distance of more than one-half mile.  The question was asked, should the wetland the wastewater flowed into be tested?  Ms. Lindlief responded that a true measurement could not be taken, as other factors would feed into that area, natural and otherwise.  Her concern was how to prevent a future occurrence.


Treatment Plant Cont.)

  • M. Appelwick restated that some wastewater pumped out of the building was trucked to other wastewater facilities, some was dumped on the ground, and some flowed out of the building onto the ground.
  • Operational Status:  M. Appelwick stated that NTS operates under a contract with the CLWSD with their responsibility being to operate the plant to the best of their ability.  The Board has the responsibility to provide the supplies, the plant, etc.  It is a team effort.  He felt there was a limitation in design because there is no flow retention.
  • The plant is in operation.  They are operating valves and pumps manually.  Changes were made last week based on recommendations from the MPCA.  Because the biological process has been disrupted, it will take time for the system to become fully effective again.  The recirculating pump is again making noise that NTS is concerned about.
  • The plant does not currently have an alarm system.  The concern is that potentially another event could happen.  An alarm system would allow a faster response to such an occurrence.  Using the sand filter for retention risks upsetting the biological balance, but is the best option at present.  Availability of a pump truck is also a concern.
  • Corrective Plan of Action & Milestones:  J. Pucel stated that the wastewater treatment system was under warranty with Rice Lake Construction.  Rice Lake’s electrical subcontractor, Nelson-Collie, looked at the system and said all equipment needed to be replaced.  RLK asked another electrician for a second assessment, who did not feel everything had to be replaced.  There is question whether or not an electrician other than Nelson-Collie should be used because of the warranty issues.
  • Rice Lake’s letter of August 3rd states that their position is that the equipment in the plant is not under warranty.  RLK’s position is that that equipment is under warranty and it failed.
  • The plant is currently running without a PLC.
  • RLK has received a quote of $1,800 for a temporary alarm.  The alarm would allow someone to be on site sooner should another flooding incident occur.  RLK recommended that the Board approve the purchase of a temporary alarm system, as getting the automated system operational will take some time.
  • RLK has researched leasing a pump on a temporary basis to be available should another incident occur.
  • A meeting has been set  by RLK for Tuesday, August 23rd at 10AM at the Fire Hall.  Representatives from NTS, RLK, Rice Lake and their suppliers and electrical engineer will be present to review warranty issues.  NTS and RLK asked that one or two Board members be present.  R. Scott advised he and D. Congdon would attend the meeting.
  • Acordia Insurance has been in communication with M. Appelwick who plans to meet with the insurance adjuster that same afternoon to review the incidents.
  • A motion was made by D. Congdon, supported by M. White, approving RLK’s pursuit of an emergency alarm system and pump leasing with equipment purchase expenses to be paid out of the Special Assessment Fund.  Motion carried.




Paul Hamblin stated that he appreciates the Board action of getting an alarm system and a pump as part of an emergency plan.  He felt serious thought should be given to having a holding tank in place.


Bob Anderson indicated there were two 10,000 gallon tanks stored on his property that could be used by the District.


Charlotte Bystrom was concerned about the phosphorous level of the wastewater discharged into the swale that drained to Baylis Bay and asked if there would be any testing done at the culvert feeding into the bay.  Deb Lindlief of the MPCA responded that testing at that point would not give a true picture, as there would be other water mixing with the discharged wastewater; it would be difficult to pinpoint where the phosphorous is coming from.  Charlotte felt it would have been proper to notify residents of Baylis Bay of the events before they read about them in the papers.




Mike Lang commended the Board members on their handling of “little bumps in the road” and is confident they will work through this with the help of good consultants.  He is confident his grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be swimming in a clean lake.  Mike then asked if the Common Sense group paid the assessed amount resulting from the judgment of the lawsuit a few years ago; as taxes were increased to cover the expense.  The Board had been advised that it would cost more to collect the monies than the amount to be collected.


Dave Erding had understood that funding for a fully automated plant had been approved.  The plant does have some automated equipment but not remote monitoring, as the Board did not approve the expenditure for remote monitoring.


Paul Hamblin asked when there would be a new rate structure.  M. White explained that the Board is looking at a $15,000 to $20,000 loss this year from the Plant Operation account.  In addition, $35,000 will need to be added to the Special Assessments tax levy revenue for payment on the long-term debt. The District is looking at a $50,000 shortfall, if the current rates continue into 2006.


Sharon Erding asked if the Board had plans to increase flow use into the plant and if they had a timeline.  R. Scott recommended that she read the Preliminary Engineering Report for the Eastern Service Area available at the Post Office.


Paul Hamblin stated that he understood Special Assessment Funding was to be used for debt service and interest on the loan.  He was hearing that that money was being considered for other uses because the plant is underused and the rates are inaccurate.  M. White responded that there is approximately $175,000 with $100,000 of prepaid assessments in that account and the District attorney stated that that money cannot be used for plant operation, only for debt, interest on debt, or capital equipment.  Money could possibly be borrowed from the Administrative Fund.  Paul responded that Administrative levy money would then be paying for plant operation.



The meeting was adjourned at 9:40PM


J. Pohlman, Clerk

Crane Lake Water & Sanitary District
P.O. Box 306 · Crane Lake, Minnesota 55725
© 2001 CLWSD