Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
By Margie Wuebker
Heavy use prompts water alert
New Bremen
  NEW BREMEN - A water usage advisory has been issued for New Bremen.
Village administrator Wayne York told council members Tuesday night that a record 550,000 gallons of water were used Monday, an increase of 25 to 33 percent over the July daily average of 403,000 gallons.
The advisory, issued by Mayor Jeff Pape, urges residents to curtail watering lawns, washing cars and running ornamental fountains. It will remain in effect until water usage returns to normal.
"This is a very delicate situation that could easily turn into an emergency," Pape said. "Our concern is that if any of our wells are depleted, it could take days or weeks to recharge them. We hope that residents fully observe these voluntary measures, which should help avoid mandatory restrictions."
According to water superintendent Greg Dennings, the village's well system ordinarily delivers about 250,000 to 400,000 gallons per day. The wells can supply upwards of 800,000 gallons a day if they run continuously. However, such operation does not allow wells sufficient time to recharge.
Officials said dry conditions have lasted considerably longer than in July 2011, when the last water use advisory was implemented.
The village will abide by the advisory, cutting back the watershed fountain and automatic irrigation systems at Lock One Park by 50 percent. Officials plan to use either canal water or final discharge water from the wastewater treatment plant at the newly seeded Rotary Sunshine Playground at Bremenfest Park and for trees throughout the community.
Also feeling the impact will be the New Bremen Firemen's Picnic on July 28. The senior water ball tournament, which pits firefighters from various area departments, has been cancelled. The junior tournament for children will go on as scheduled since it uses less water.
Village officials have been working in recent years to locate additional wells to provide more water. Seven test wells drilled during the last two years resulted in marginal success. Officials continue to look for locations for more testing. The EPA approval process for a well can take as long as six months.
York reported village officials met earlier in the day with representatives of Courtney & Associates regarding a nearly completed electric rate study.
"Overall, our electric rates are producing 1 percent less than they should," he said. "Residential rates appear to be right on, but commercial/industrial and governmental rates are not consistent."
Proposed action to address the situation is expected later this summer.
In other action, council members,
• received an update on waterline reconstruction in the 700 block of North Main Street. The pipe springs several leaks each year with the last one coming Thanksgiving morning and forcing temporary shutdown of water service. York said the pipe was installed in 1970 and should have lasted 75 to 100 years. Village employees are handling the project, which should take approximately a month.
• approved legislation to partner with the Auglaize County Engineer's Office for work along Wuebker Road at a cost of $10,000. The north part of the road lies in the New Bremen corporation limit while the south part falls under county jurisdiction.
• authorized the county engineer to replace an old pipe in the Wierth Ditch between the Lions Club Shelter house and the Crown Pavilion at a cost of $33,000. The current pipe, which is cracking and collapsing, develops suck holes two to three times a year.
• gave third and final reading to legislation regarding the rezoning of the former village parks building at 201 N. Main from R-2 (residential) to C-1 (commercial). Que's Barbershop relocated there after a West Monroe Street fire earlier in the year.   
• declared the former parks building as surplus property and transferred the title to the New Bremen Community Improvement Corporation for disposition.
• tabled third and final reading of legislation amending A-1 (agricultural) language to exclude grass height at the request of the city solicitor. The proposed action involves the Kuenning-Dicke Nature Area, where prairie grass stands waist high instead of the previously recommended 12 inches.
• learned bids for the proposed South Main sanitary sewer project will be opened on Thursday. The estimated cost is $100,000.
• set Aug. 1 as bid opening for the Herman Street substation upgrade. The cost estimate is $400,000 with the village planning to finance the project internally instead of taking out a loan. York said the village receives less than 1 percent interest on investments and a loan would carry upwards of 4 percent interest.
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