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Morris to purchase back-up generators

Published: Wednesday, July 9, 2014 8:23 p.m. CDT

MORRIS – The next time the entire city of Morris loses power, Mayor Richard Kopczick wants to be prepared.

That is why the city may purchase permanent back-up generators for two city water wells.

Last Monday’s violent storms rendered 90 percent of the city powerless, including the water treatment facility and the water-drawing wells. Power was not returned to the wells until 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, and the city’s above-ground water reserves were nearly depleted in the meantime.

Before the wells were turned back on, city officials scrambled to find portable back-up generators to help keep the wells running and avoid a water shortage. The city rented two diesel generators, but did not get them until late Tuesday night.

“In the past, we’ve never had in issue in the city of Morris where, one – all wells were taken out. And two – it took that long to get a well back up,” Kopczick said. “This was just such a devastating storm, and we are not going to take that chance again.”

The Morris Water and Sewer Committee agreed Tuesday to have engineering firm Chamlin & Associates gather project proposals and estimates for installing permanent generators on two of the city’s wells.

Kopczick said the committee agreed to amend the budget, if necessary, to allow for the project.

“This is definitely a priority,” he said.

The two diesel generators the city rented last week cost the city, but Kopczick said monetary concerns were not at the heart of this project.

“It’s about the health, safety and welfare of the people of Morris,” he said.

Water and Sewer

Committee action

Residents with broken water meters who do not schedule a repair with the city will face “repercussions” after the city passes a new ordinance enforcing water meter repairs, Kopczick said.

Some Morris residents are going months – and in some instances, years – with broken water meters, which leads to faulty readings.

When a meter breaks, the city sends out several notices urging the homeowner to grant the city the access needed to replace the faulty meter.

If the resident does not comply, then the water department will estimate that resident’s bill higher every month to account for faulty readings.

To ensure readings are accurate, the city is drafting an ordinance that will penalize those who don’t schedule the repair.

The ordinance will be on the next city council agenda.

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