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Borings are approved for geo-thermal wells at new law enforcement center

VINTON – The Benton County Board of Supervisors met Dec. 22 in the courthouse in Vinton.

According to board minutes, Marc Greenlee, Public Health Officer, met with the board regarding the test boring and drilling of wells for a geothermal system for the new law enforcement center in Vinton. Greenlee stated that the project would require a county-issued permit for both the test well and the system, if installed. Greenlee continued that the permit for the test well would cover the system as well. Greenlee stated that the fee is waived for governmental fees for his office; however a $25 fee will be due to the Department of Natural Resources.

Greenlee advised that the City of Vinton has ordinances governing private wells within the city limits. Greenlee has met with city officials regarding the matter.

The Jordan well is considered inactive, but separation distance is required, which should not be a problem. The city regulates drinking wells and is not interested in regulating the geothermal wells per a conversation with Andrew Lent, city coordinator. Greenlee stated that storm sewer accesses are in the vicinity of the site and regulations prohibit runoff from the drilling to access the river. Greenlee continued that the location is a little different and that he wanted to ensure there wasn’t any contamination in the area.

Greenlee does not believe there is anything in the immediate proximity of the site; however there is a concern with an area approximately four blocks away where there were underground storage tanks.  Greenlee is trying to obtain information regarding that site from the DNR to ascertain if there is any problem. Greenlee stated he is confident that there are not any issues that would prohibit the issuance of a permit assuming nothing is discovered in the next few days. Greenlee said protection of the city’s drinking water source is paramount.

Todd McNall, Design Dynamics, in conjunction with KJJW Engineering, reviewed the two quotes received of the four requested, for test bore and thermal conductivity analysis for a geothermal system. The quotes were as follows:

Enviro-Tech - $10,306

BarkerLemar - $8,100

McNall recommended that BarkerLemar be awarded the job for the test bore and thermal conductivity analysis, and the board approved the request.

Jerry Petermeier, project consultant, spoke with the board about stockpiling sand for future flood mitigation. Petermeier suggested that sand be piled on county-owned property by the county home. The property is currently under the management of Benton County Conservation. Petermeier stated a 100-square-foot area would be all that is necessary for the sand pile.

Supervisor Chairman David Vermedahl questioned if there would be problems with the sand getting weedy, etc. if it hadn’t been used for several years. Petermeier stated that the material would have to sprayed to keep the weeds down. The board indicated that the area would be ideal, but discussions would need to be held with the conservation board. The estimate for the sand is $8,000 to $10,000 total. Petermeier stated that he would contact the conservation board regarding the matter.

The county engineer presented quotes received for chemicals for the 2010 roadside spray season. Quotes were received as follows:

O’Grady Chemical - $77,040.00

Vegetation Management Supply - $75,552.40

Van Diest Supply - $71,302.70

Crop Production Services - $78,270.00

The engineer stated that he checked with the vendors about purchasing different products from various vendors.

The supervisors awarded the quote for chemicals the 2010 spray season as follows:

Vegetation Management Supply, Inc. – Patron 170 at $30,732.00

Van Diest Supply Co. – Milestone, Spike 20P and Guardian - $39,466.70

The board approved a utility permit requested by ITC Midwest to place utility lines in the county’s right away along a line from north of Belle Plaine to the eastern boundary of Benton County through Kane, Union, Eldorado, and Fremont Townships.

The board acknowledged and approved the receipt and filing of the annual manure management plan update submitted by Daren Rinderknecht for the facility located at 2385 70th Street, Van Horne, Iowa.

The board acknowledged and approved the receipt and filing of the annual manure management plan submitted by Christensen Farms Midwest, LLC, for the facility located at 5602 20th Avenue, Vinton, Iowa.

The board also approved a transfer of $50,000 from General Basic to Capital Projects.

The board approved 22.5 hours of vacation carry-over requested by Barbara Greenlee, to be used no later than January 1, 2010.

The board revisited the issue of closing the courthouse during inclement weather. Vermedahl stated that he had been questioned about employees being paid that stated they worked at home and did not use vacation or compensation time during the blizzard on Dec. 9, 2009, as required by the county's policy. Vermedahl questioned what the board’s position was on that issue. The board also discussed the closing of the courthouse and the impact on the sheriff’s department and secondary roads. Following a lengthy discussion, the board approve that the current policy on weather related courthouse closure remain as written.

The board continued the discussion on whether employees are permitted to work at home. Supervisor Sanders stated that he was not willing to make a blanket statement that employees would be allowed to work from home. Vermedahl suggested a policy stating that working at home is generally not approved unless approved by the elected official over said department or employee. Sanders agreed to look into the issues surrounding working at home and report back to the other members.

UPDATED December 24, 2009 11:23 AM

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