Archived Story

Hartland, Freeborn to share water systems

Published 10:30am Wednesday, July 3, 2013

HARTLAND — By the summer of 2014, the cities of Hartland and Freeborn will begin sharing a water treatment system.

The city councils in both communities on Monday voted to create a joint powers board to oversee the treatment system and approved the financial responsibilities for both entities.

Costs for the system — including a new treatment plant, water tower, water main and water meters, plus engineering costs — total about $6 million. The treatment facility will be in Hartland, with distribution lines running to and from Freeborn.

“It was a big community effort for everyone,” said Hartland Mayor Kelly Routh, noting that the shared system will be a long-term savings for both cities.

Construction on the facility is already underway and should be running in Hartland by October, said Nicole LaFrance, city clerk for both cities. In the spring, crews will begin to connect about six-miles of trunk lines and distribution lines from the facility to Freeborn. The connection is expected to take six weeks and the water main will go from Freeborn County Road 33 to County Road 10.

“It should be an exciting project for them,” said John Graupman with Bolton & Menk engineering firm, which is overseeing the project. “We all see this as a wave of the future.”

A new water tower will be erected in Hartland next year. The current one dates back to the 1920s while the tank is from the 1960s, Routh said.

LaFrance said Hartland is paying for the treatment plant and for a majority of the water tower. Freeborn is contributing $330,000 toward the system.

LaFrance said Hartland received a $1.23 million U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development loan and a $1.25 million rural development grant to help cover the city’s costs.

Freeborn will be responsible for the cost of the water main and for new water meters. The city received a $1.18 million Rural Development loan, a $1.4 million rural development grant and $630,000 in Small Cities Development funding. The Small Cities funding was part of a larger $980,000 grant given to the city — the largest given out by the state through the program.

Once construction is completed, the cities will share ownership and share the costs of upkeep.

Routh said Hartland’s water treatment facility was more than 40 years old and in need of repair when officials came up with the idea of sharing a plant with another community.

Freeborn Mayor Theo Beckmann said the project has been a long-time coming for his city. It has been a priority project during at least the last six years, he said, as Freeborn’s current system exceeds the state threshold for arsenic.

“Everyone out in western Minnesota, they have been doing these joint water projects a lot more frequently,” Beckmann said.