October 12, 2010

Hugo City Council Approves Funding for Groundwater Remediation Project

Victor Gardens Residents spoke again at the October 4 Hugo City Council meeting to discuss ongoing groundwater issues.  Residents helped the Council better understand the problem.  The Council later unanimously voted to approve funding for a groundwater remediation project.    

A huge thanks goes to Tony Schwab and other residents for their work on this issue. In the last year, Tony coordinated numerous meetings and met with the group of affected homeowners, engineering companies, City staff, and the Rice Creek Watershed District. This group was successful in finding an affordable solution that will improve the groundwater situation for these affected properties.  

Residents should know that our City Council Person Becky Petryk, Mayor Fran Miron, and Hugo's Development Director Bryan Bear have been instrumental in helping our residents throughout this process.  They deserve our thanks for working with the rest of Hugo's City Council towards a unanimous vote to approve the project's funding.

The following article, written by Deb Barnes, appeared in the September 29, 2010 edition of The Citizen newspaper.  More details are expected to be published in The Citizen regarding the Oct. 4 Hugo City Council meeting. 

Council Reluctant To Proceed With Groundwater Control Measures

Council declined to take immediate action on a proposed cost-sharing arrangement that would lead to drainage relief in the Victor Gardens neighborhood through the installation of a shallow piped drainage system.
“Unexpected” groundwater issues have plagued 17 homes in the area since the development was completed and residents have been trying to solve the problem, resident Anthony Schwab told council members. Some homeowners’ sump pumps run continuously, he said, adding that the presence of water and significant algae growth in alleyways is an ongoing safety issue.
“The source of the problem is the water table,” Carlson Professional Services engineer Brian Krystofiak (Kris-toh-fee-ak) said.
Council Member Becky Petryk speculated that drain tiles located within Rosemary Wenzel’s farm fields may have acted to lower the water table at the time the development was planned.
Although residents formally requested that the city contribute $41,750 toward a $90,000-plus remedy, council members were reluctant to contribute funds toward a solution that may not be enough to solve the problem; a more rigorous and expensive engineering solution had been rejected by homeowners because of cost, council members were told.
Opinions ranged from, “Why is it the city’s responsibility?” (Council Member Chuck Haas) to “We do have a stormwater management fund, and I can’t think of a better way to use it” (Council Member Petryk) to “This seems more of a patch than a long-term solution” (Council Member Tom Weidt).
Assistance has been rendered by Carlson Professional Services, C.W. Houle Co., WSB & Associates, and the Rice Creek Watershed District, the drainage authority, which has agreed to provide a $50,000 grant to help correct the problem.
In the end, council directed staff to prepare a resolution with fi ndings of fact for approval. It’s not clear whether the measure will pass, however.