By Cynthia L. Miller


BRODHEAD – In the absence of Mayor Doug Pinnow, Brodhead Common Council president John Bernstein conducted the Tuesday, July 21 meeting. Alderpersons Beth Rosheisen and Debra Fox were also absent, which created a lack of quorum preventing the council from taking action on various agenda items.

Among those items was a proposal by the Department of Public Works for improvements to the city’s lift stations. Public Works Supervisor Rich Vogel introduced Greg Gunderson of the MSA consulting firm, who described the proposed project to council members.

Gunderson outlined proposed improvements to the control of the city’s lift stations. There are eight lift stations throughout the City of Brodhead that move waste products to the treatment plant. Currently the lift stations do not have an effective or standard means of alerting operations staff of problems, there is only a light to alert staff in the case of a problem or outage. This system does not comply with current DNR requirements. Life station #2 constantly plugs and needs new pumps. Further, the lift stations have no effective means of supplying back-up power in case of power loss, which could cause serious problems in the event of an extended power outage. Gunderson also explained that the control system software currently in use at the treatment plant is 20 years old and needs to be updated.

Gunderson suggested that now is the time to move forward with upgrades because of funding opportunities. Those upgrades would include adding a telemetry system at each lift station to convey operating and alarm information back to the main control system at the treatment plant; Upgrade control software; Place an antenna at a central location to collect information from all of the lift stations that can be conveyed to the treatment plant; Replace the older control panels at three of the lift stations and upgrade the pumps and mechanicals at lift station #2.

The MSA representative stated that it there is a high likelihood the City will receive a 30% grant from the DNR to complete the work, which is estimated to total $639,000. The remaining portion of the project could be repaid through a loan at a subsidized rate of 2.275% for a 20-year term. Gunderson stated the costs would not affect current utility rates because the City would not begin paying on the new loan until 2017, which coincides with the retirement of the existing treatment facility loan.

If the City elects to proceed with the proposed upgrade, it must submit a proposal to the DNR before Sept. 30, 2015, causing a little bit of a crunch situation for the engineering firm if it has to wait until the next regularly scheduled council meeting for approval.

According to Mayor Pinnow, the council will meet sometime before the regularly scheduled Aug. 10 meeting to discuss the approval of several other pressing issues including the adoption of a resolution allowing ATV’s on city streets during Covered Bridge Days and a resolution regarding handicapped parking on East Exchange Street.