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Bronaugh moves toward water fix

Saturday, December 1, 2012

(Photo)
Contractors work in May 2011 to paint Bronaugh's new water tower, which has proved to be only part of the state-mandated solution for a different water supply. The town continues to address the issue by considering a tank near the tower's base to aerate water and remove sediment from it.(File Photo)
BRONAUGH -- This southwest Vernon County town's vexatious water quality problems are being addressed by the Board of Aldermen, which has hired a new set of engineers to determine how to handle sediment that clogs appliances and makes citizens chary of taking showers.

The quandary surfaced in June last year as new water coursed into the city's 113 new meters from a new 30,000-gallon water tower and 775-foot-deep well, whose drilling the Missouri Department of Natural Resources had mandated because the old well, contaminated by underground leaks, had registered a high level of radionuclides since 1993.

Naturally occurring radionuclides are atoms with unstable nuclei that emit gamma rays or sub-atomic particles, according to references.

Bronaugh resident Monica Householder had recently reported $753 in repairs to her washing machine since last spring and she said Wednesday the device "is starting to gunk up again.

"It does it about every six months," Householder said. "The water clogs everything up and smells bad. Sometimes it's yellow and it has been brown. Sometimes I feel slimy after taking a shower. My repair bills have been to replace valves because of the sediment."

Referring to the town's $1.1 million expenditure for the new system, she said, "We could have hooked up to Nevada and saved a lot of money."

Bronaugh Alderman Harry "Red" Pitts said Friday that the town has hired new engineers since paying Sherman Engineering Service of Bolivar $120,446 to help bring in the system and that the second firm has indicated a "clear well" tank with aerators will be the solution. "The problem is the mud and rock that go to the bottom of the tower after we pump the water out of the ground," Pitts said.

"When we get the clear well hooked up, then we will have better water. It will take another month or two. Gary (Loudermilk, city water operator) is working real hard and we're trying to do the best we can with what we have to get it fixed. The water is real good, soft water. You only need a third of the amount of soap to shower or do laundry."

Pitts did not yet know how much the clear well system will cost.

Loudermilk's wife, Ann, the city treasurer, said Thursday that the regional firm of Bartlett & West Engineers has been engaged.

On a different matter, Alderwoman Nancy Fleener reported Wednesday that the board had appointed former Mayor Sherry Brown and Sharon Pruitt to replace former Mayor Michael Millman and former Alderman Andy Brannan, who resigned in October after a dispute about Millman's and Brannan's municipal cleanup campaign.

Told by the Department of Natural Resources that the well it had used at the east end of Fourth Street since 1959 was no longer acceptable, the town qualified for a $381,500 rural development grant and a $295,000 loan with a 33-year payback from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Kaysinger Basin Regional Planning Commission in Clinton obtained a $400,000 federal Community Development Block Grant for Bronaugh and the aldermen spent $34,075 for 15 fire hydrants -- the first in the town's history, for which contractors laid four- and six-inch mains on Ash, Oak and Maple streets. The new well and tower are at Third and Maple streets.

A 2,000-gallon ground level pressure tank previously stored municipal water.

Ann Loudermilk had reported when the project neared completion that Lathrop Construction of Nevada was paid $452,857 for the lines, hydrants and pump house; Phoenix Fabricators of Avon, Ind., $303,319 for the 137-foot tower; Harper Drilling of Clinton $66,007; Nevada attorneys McCaffree & Landoll $40,000; and the Kaysinger Basin Commission $21,300 to administer the block grant.



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