City council considers lagoon solutions

According to an American Engineering and Testing report, Hettinger lagoon cell #3 is leaking water. The results of the test revealed that cell #3 has little to no clay in its liner. Cell #3 is where the golf course pulls water from to water their green.

Frank Turner

To retain the leaking water, cell #3 will have to be drained and a new liner will have to be installed. Ultimately, the council decided to use the most cost effective option, a synthetic geo-liner, to repair the lagoon. With the geo-liner the project has an estimated cost of $434,750.

However, while the cell #3 of the lagoon is drained, the lack of available water may be problematic for the golf course.

“When you do a mining project like this, you’re going to have to drain it and there will be a period without water,” said Billy Doerr, the project engineer from Brosz Engineering.

Doerr said the project’s completion is highly dependent on weather conditions.

“The time frame is very much weather dependent,” said Doerr, “But under ideal conditions, the whole [project] should take six to eight weeks.”

According to Doerr, cell #3 will take two to three weeks to drain. Then after the cell is drained, it will take another two to three weeks for the bottom of the lagoon to dry out to the point where it is accessible and workable for the construction crew. Once the lagoon dries, it will be another two to three weeks to install the new liner, and then cell #3 will be operational again.

In the last city council meeting, council members discussed two possible options for when to repair the lagoon, while still considering the possible impact it may have on the golf course. The two options consider starting the lagoon repairs in either early spring or August.

“The first option would be starting the project when winter is over. If we chose this option, the country club would start the year without water. Then it would be a rush to get the [lagoon] fixed and a rush to fill the lagoon and get water out to them,” said city council member James Lindquist.

According Doerr, the repairs cannot start if the lagoon is frozen.

“What I’m worried about, is a rain shower might drag the entire [project] out in the spring,” said city council member Suzie Ruether. “Where August, we are better off, but then it takes away from the driest time on the golf course.”

James Lindquist, another city council member, continued, “The second possible option would be to wait until the end of summer around August. Most of the people going to the golf course traffic and tournaments should be mostly over with. We would drain the lagoon then, and we would start the repairs before winter set in.”

According to Lindquist, the council is leaning towards doing the cell #3 lagoon repairs in late summer; however, a firm decision has not been made. The City Council is considering which option is best and will make a final decision once all potential impacts have been considered.