SPU has hired Short Elliott Hendrickson (SEH) to perform a comprehensive evaluation of a municipal water treatment program.
SEH is an employee-owned engineering, architectural, environmental and planning company that helps government, industrial and commercial clients find answers to complex challenges. They are headquartered in St. Paul, MN with 31 offices in nine states.
The comprehensive evaluation is a 7-step feasibility study that will continue through mid-2021.
Updates will be shared on this site as the study progresses.
Step 1 – Project Initiation and Data Collection (COMPLETED)
Step 2 – Initial Findings (COMPLETED)
- SPU water quality meets all Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for safety.
- The aesthetic water quality in SPU wells is very good. We are fortunate to have the relatively low levels of iron and manganese naturally present in our water (with no water treatment).
- All blending of water within the SPU water system is done at the wellhouse – PRIOR to being delivered to the distribution system and any SPU customer.
- While nitrate is present in SPU wells, it has been below the EPA’s maximum contaminant level (MCL) for the last three years*. The good news is that levels have stayed the same or gone down naturally over the last 20 years. Wells with higher nitrate levels (but below EPA’s “safe to drink” standards) are blended at the wellhouse to further reduce levels before entering the distribution system and reaching customers.
- None of the SPU wells are near the EPA’s advisory level for manganese, and in general, are well below the MN Dept Health’s Health Based Value (HBV). Only one sampling at one well in the last three years has exceeded the HBV of 0.1mg/L, but was below the EPA advisory level of 0.3 mg/L.
- We have hard water in Shakopee. Softening water on a municipal scale can be done, but it is expensive to build, operate and maintain. Alternatively, water softening can be accomplished economically with home water softeners.
Step 3 – Public Involvement
Customer Survey (COMPLETED)
An online survey was made available to all SPU water customers to gain customer input on water quality, treatment desires and financial impact/rate thresholds related to treatment. This survey link was communicated via our facebook page, website, online payment portal and also appeared on two monthly billing statements in February and March. The survey was available for 30-days and closed on March 31st.
The data from this survey was compiled by SEH and the findings were shared publicly to our Commission at the May 3, 2021 meeting. The survey response did not generate the level of response needed to draw conclusions representative of our water customer base. Less than 5% of our water ratepayers participated.
Public Open Houses (BEING WORKED ON)
To further gather customer input, plans are being made to hold public meetings. Dates and times will be posted/communicated to the public in advance of the meetings.
The complete memorandum and presentation can be found in the October 5, 2020 Commission Meeting Packet. Click Here
*SEH reviewed only three years of data; nitrate MCL’s have been lower longer than three years.