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BAXTER CITY COUNCIL: Wellhead protection team assembled

BAXTER — A team has been formed in Baxter to look at the potential for drinking water contamination in the Perch Lake area. 

The team is the outcome of the Baxter Wellhead Protection Plan information meeting presented by Brian Ross of Widseth Smith Nolting and Associates to the Baxter City Council on Tuesday. 

A study showed an area of Perch and Rush lakes to be have higher permeability, making water wells more susceptible to near-surface contamination, Ross said. 

The team will concentrate their efforts on a drinking water supply management area roughly located in the Rush and Perch lakes area — south of Foley Road; west of Glory Road, Homestead Drive, Ironwood Drive and Jasperwood Drive; north and east of Mapleton Road; and east of Highland Scenic Drive.

“The vulnerability (in that area) was determined to be high,” Ross said. 

The team will be made up of Ross; council member Todd Holman; city staff; and representatives of the Minnesota Department of Health, Crow Wing County, Brainerd School District and the Perch Lake property owners association. 

Ross said the area is mostly residential and almost completely developed, meaning there is a low risk of contamination. Another man attending the meeting noted that the area also was, for the most part, serviced by the city’s sanitary sewer system, which also reduces the risk for contamination. 

Ross said the team will look at potential problems and opportunities with wellheads in the area and develop a plan to return to the Minnesota Department of Health. The deadline, he said, was Aug. 13, 2012. 

Specifically, the team will:

• Assemble information about the water system. 

• Locate information about other well in the area to assist with the wellhead protection area delineation. 

• Provide information and input when determining the drinking water supply management area.

• Locate potential contaminant sources within the management area. 

• Develop and implement goals, objectives and management strategies for the contaminant of concern in the management area. 

• Provide local control and ownership of the wellhead protection plan. 

Holman praised the plan. 

“For one we have a definitive line we can work with,” he said. He did ask if a gas station on the north side of Highway 210 and commercial properties to the east of Perch Lake could be included in the plan. 

In other action, the council:

Held its first meeting since the death of John Sullivan, whom Mayor Darrel Olson described as the “sixth council member.” Sullivan, a long-time community volunteer who was heavily involved in the city in several capacities and regularly attended council meetings, died Sept. 26 at the age of 86. 

“He will be missed,” Olson said, offering condolences to Sullivan’s family.

Met in a work session before the regular council meeting to discuss a request to pave Wildflower Drive and Franklin Drive. 

City policy states improvement projects will only commence with a petition from at least 75 percent of affected property owners. In this case, staff noted, only three or four people have approached the city seeking information about the cost of such a project. 

City Administrator Gordon Heitke wanted council direction on how to proceed. The options were to do nothing, to present residents with project cost and assessment information for a pave-only project and to present information for complete road and utility project. It was the council’s consensus to inform residents, either by a letter or with a meeting, about the options and let them pursue a petition. 

Will discuss the Hastings Road project, including a possible purchase of land, at the Oct. 18 meeting. 

Approved a permit application fro Brainerd Sports Boosters Charitable Gambling at Baxter Liquor Mart contingent on review by the city attorney. 

Council member Jim Klein had questioned if it was legal to have charitable gambling outside of bars and restaurants and if by approving the application the city would be inundated with such requests. While he agreed with checking on the legality, Mayor Darrel Olson questioned what the downside would be if the city received numerous applications. 

Approved the transfer of $1,800 from the Drug and Alcohol Forfeiture Fund for the purchase of printers in police squad vehicles. 

Klein asked if, in these difficult economic times, the police department needed printers. Police Chief Jim Exsted said the new printers will replace two printers already installed in each squad and be compatible with state’s guidelines. Exsted said an alternative would be to have a print shop print forms for the department, but he wasn’t sure that would be a cost savings. 

Set budget work sessions at 6 p.m. on Nov. 3 and Nov. 7 

MATT ERICKSON may be reached at or 855-5857.