City of Pratt leaders address water nitrate levels on the rise

Michael Blackford
Pratt Tribune
With nitrate levels on the rise, Pratt city leaders are making a plan  to study and address water infrastructure needs with EBH.

Rising nitrate levels in city water has caught the attention of Pratt Public Works Director Russ Rambat, who along with Jerry Starkey, EBH Engineering, spoke to city commissioners and department heads at a July 19 meeting. He said it is time to implement a water study and upgrade project for the water infrastructure in the city. "Nitrate levels in the city water are not at a level of causing problems, but they have been rising over the past several years," Rambat said. "It will take several months, possibly a year, to complete the study and get to a proposal to set the city on a good path for the next 20-40 years."

Starkey said the complexity of the water infrastructure project revolves around making sure all aspects are properly addressed. Starkey said later that as possible upgrades, changes, and additions are made to the system, additional impact and engineering concerns will produce additional time requirements.

"EBH Engineering is a local engineering firm that specializes in helping small cities," Starkey said. "EBH does not try to compete with larger companies to win contracts from larger municipalities."

Also at the July 19 city meeting, Bryan Evans, Power Superintendent, requested permission to purchase one new piston for one of the dual fuel engines producing power when the city needs require it. Evans said he is trying to build up the stockpile of parts before the next inspection of the powerplants. Due to the long lead times for replacement parts and the high costs, Evans said this allows the city to spread the cost over a few years and keep the inspection process time short.

In other business, Regina Goff, City Attorney, led a discussion on the proposal to allow ‘Authorizing the Operation of Work-site Utility Vehicles, Micro Utility Vehicles, Utility Terrain Vehicles, and Golf Carts on the street within the Corp. limits of the city.’ Concerns were voiced by commissioners about vehicles not having lighting and the requirement to have a slow moving triangle on the back of all these vehicles. Pratt Chief of Police Nate Humble confirmed the vehicles would need to be trailered to the LEC for the initial inspection to register them with the city.

Mayor Gary Schmidt asked about the liability to the city and the yearly proof of insurance by vehicle owners to continue using their registration. Goff said the proposal now does not have an annual registration, only a one time registration.

The commissioners decided to have the attorney and the police department look back over the ordinance proposal and submit it later for a vote.

City Manager Bruce Pinkall updated the commission on the work to resurface the city tennis courts.

"We will do the work this fall to keep the impact to the schools to a minimum and help reduce the costs," Pinkall said.