City View

Property owners at the Droessler Subdivision and Spruce Creek campgrounds north of Bellevue will have to replace water systems and plug all private wells.

A majority of property owners at Droessler subdivision north of Bellevue are facing the reality that they have problems with their water supply – mainly because the infrastructure doesn’t meet standard code and the water quality is often contaminated as well.

If nothing is done, property owners may not be able to sell their property in the future.

As a result, Jackson County officials, including the county board of supervisors, county health board and county conservation have requested that the City of Bellevue extend utilities to Droessler Subdivision and Spruce Creek Campgrounds.

The Jackson County Supervisors also passed a resolution earlier this year mandating connections to the Bellevue public water supply and all private/public wells be plugged. While asked to help the project financially, the county board has not made any commitments.

The proposed project, estimated to cost around $1.7 million, would provide the service area with a safe and adequate water supply.

Along with providing a safe source of water for the area, the water main extension would also improve the firefighting capabilities for the Bellevue Fire Department, which serves the area up north.

It is all contingent, however, on a $500,000 Community Development Block grant that has been applied for, which along with future payments from new utility customers, would make the project more feasible.

If the funds don’t pan out, and Bellevue Municipal Utilities does not handle the project, then a group called EIRUSS (Eastern Iowa Regional Utility Service System) would step in and install a lower grade system (smaller/lower-quality pipes with no fire protection), which is projected to cost each homeowner more each month.  

While the issue has been discussed for over five years now, it was just this year that the issue reached a pivotal point with members of the Jackson County Board of Supervisors, who have held a series of joint meetings with the Bellevue Utilities Board.

The Bellevue City Council last week also conducted a work session on the proposal. The group went over preliminary engineering plans for the potential project, but have made no decisions thus far.

The area to be served by the proposed improvement is served by mainly private water supply systems, but also has two public water supply systems. One is the public water supply at the Jackson County Conservation Board operated Spruce Creek Campground, the second public water supply system is the Petesch’s Mobile Home Park.

The Spruce Creek Campground had a hit on ‘Total Coliform Bacteria’ on September 13, 2016; June 21, 2017 and June 23, 2017. The Petesch system had a hit on ‘Total Coliform Bacteria’ in September 23, 2016.

In addition to bacteria levels, all but five of the proprieties in the Droessler Subdivision area have wells that do not meet separation distances set forth in the Iowa Administrative Code – which are 100 feet for private wells, and 400 feet for public water wells.

 With the Spruce Creek Campground receiving a hit on Total Coliform Bacteria within the last year, the Jackson County Conservation Board members said they would be willing to connect to the proposed water main extension that the City of Bellevue may extend to the Droessler Subdivision. When and if the connection is made, the existing well at the Spruce Creek Campground would be plugged.

Once the proposed water main has been constructed, the City of Bellevue would coordinate with the contractor and property owners to connect the properties to the water main. When all connections have been made, existing wells would also be plugged to prevent potential cross-connections.

The proposed water main alignment will extend along the west side of the right-of-way of 395th Avenue from North Riverview Drive to 304th Avenue. The water main would continue to the north along the east side of the right-of-way of 396th Avenue to the north to adjacent to the existing well located at Spruce Creek Campground.

The proposed water main alignment is planned to extend along the following roads in the Droessler Subdivision: 304th Avenue, 397th Avenue, 398th Avenue, 399th Avenue, 400th Avenue, 306th Street and 308th Street.  

Currently, the majority of the properties within the Droessler Subdivision consist of individual private wells.

A portion of the properties in Droessler Subdivison are connected to one public water supply well, but the number of actual properties connected to this one well is unknown. A ball park estimate of connections include two private homes, Spruce Harbor Inn and 38 seasonal connections. These are the reported connections to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, but the number of connections well is believed to be higher than the reported number.

The Spruce Creek Campground is owned and operated by the Jackson County Conservation Board. Water for the campground is supplied by a single well, which is located within the campground.

The well was drilled in 1990 and is approximately 165 feet deep and consists of a 6-inch casing to a depth of 50 feet. The well is capable of producing 65 gallons per minute with a pumping water level of 98 feet. The distribution system consists of small water service lines throughout the campground. The Spruce Creek Campground well had positive Total Coliform Bacteria hits on September 13, 2016; June 21, 2017; and June 23, 2017.

The Jackson County Supervisors
 passed a resolution earlier this year mandating connections to the Bellevue public water supply and all private/public wells be plugged.
While asked to help the project financially, the board has not made any commitments.

Overall, the proposed project would mean 98 new water connections to the City of Bellevue’s water supply.

The $1.7 million in costs (pending the $500,000 grant) would be cash-flowed in the future as customers at Droessler would pay one and half times the normal water and sewer rates, as well as a monthly facility fee for being outside the city limits.

If Bellevue city officials decide not pursue the project because it isn’t feasible, then EIRUSS (Eastern Iowa Regional Utility Service System) would step in and handle the project. They would install smaller water lines, which would not meet fire protection requirements.