Lewis & Clark Water Expansion Stalled — Sheldon City Council Looks at Options

lewis & clark water towerSheldon, Iowa — The Lewis and Clark Water Project has twenty members.  Eleven of them including the city of Sioux Falls are already using water from the system.  That leaves nine of the members, including Sheldon still waiting, even though they have all paid their share of the expenses.  The states of South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota also have paid the money they had committed to the project.  However the Federal Government has failed to provide their share of the cost which was originally designated by Congress.   This leaves the expansion of the project to the remaining nine members at a standstill.

Wednesday, City Manager Scott Wynja told the City Council that two hundred million dollars would be needed to complete the project in five years.  There is a bill in Congress that would cover the funding, but it has only a slight chance of passing. Wynja then outlined the options the City has available.  One of those is to wait and see, another would be for Lewis and Clark to obtain a forty year loan to complete the project.  He said they could ask everyone involved to contribute more money.  This could come from an increase in the water bills for everyone in the system.  Another possibility is to obtain loans from the states.  Wynja also mentioned that they could work with the rural water systems to have them carry Lewis and Clark Water.  The Lyon and Sioux system has a line only about two miles from Sheldon.  And. there is the possibility of Lewis and Clark abandoning Sheldon completely.  If this would happen the remaining members would be required to pay back the 2.4 million dollars that the City of Sheldon has contributed to the system.   This money could then be used by the city to find another way to get water.

Sheldon is now relying on the deep well to provide the city with adequate water, and a second deep well is planned.   But the water from this well is very hard.  There was some discussion about using a reverse osmosis system on the deep well water.  This process would produce water at about one or two grains of hardness.  Currently, the mix of deep well water and shallow well water is at about forty grains of hardness.

Wynja will be the Sheldon Delegate at the Lewis and Clark annual meeting, with Council member Dave Popkes the alternate.  The concerns of the nine members who do not have Lewis and Clark water is expected to be a hot topic at that meeting.

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