Baxter staffers caution that water treatment problems are no easy fix
The city of Baxter is collaborating with its partners and contractors to find a solution for filtration pump failures in its water treatment facility, City Administrator Brad Chapulis said, but the solution will likely take months of hard work before it comes to fruition.
If there’s one thing that can be said about the ongoing Baxter water treatment saga, it’s this: It isn’t over and it’ll likely challenge city staffers and contractors for the foreseeable future.
Currently, the city of Baxter has activated its water interconnect building and is purchasing water from Brainerd Public Utilities to offset filtration failures in its water treatment plant. There, one of its four filtration pumps systems experienced catastrophic failure in February and the remaining three are up to be upgraded in order to ensure the system can accommodate Baxter’s problematic watershed, especially during the summer months when usage is at its peak.
The Baxter City Council approved March 2 a $51,400 allocation to upgrade the interconnect building to handle the BPU influx. This expenditure could be covered by an insurance policy. Staffers noted Baxter may need to replace the problematic second cap, as well as its three counterparts, for a full overhaul of all four filtration pump systems including caps, troughs and auxiliary parts.
During a virtual interview Monday, March 8, Baxter City Administrator Brad Chapulis and Public Works Director Trevor Walter said this is only the first in a list of steps the city will have to take to overhaul the city’s water treatment facilities and ensure they’re viable for the long-term. There’s a lot of uncertainty about what is causing these failures, he noted, and how the city will ultimately address its water treatment needs.
Walter cautioned that final price tags are still pending, but the costs would likely be expensive for such a specialized and complex system.
“We don't have all the estimates put together, but the repairs to the water plant are many, many times that (original $51,000), depending on what we all have to do all four filters,” Walter said. “It could be very, very expensive.”
In short, Baxter residents should expect new developments and more pieces of the proverbial puzzle in the coming months before it's all said and done.
“This is just the first step and there are steps later on,” Chapulis said. “This is a real time problem, working on real time solutions, and there's going to be checkpoints along the way.”
GABRIEL LAGARDE may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 218-855-5859. Follow at www.twitter.com/glbrddispatch .