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Toledo might employ modern technology in water line break battle

February 6, 2014
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Today's technology may be put to use to aid in the hunt for Toledo's water line breaks and other city underground services. So far this winter, Toledo city crews have been called upon to repair 11 breaks in water supply lines Public Works Director Mark Zmolek told The Chronicle.

GPS - Global Positioning System - equipment could be used to make finding these breaks much easier by mapping the city lines the Toledo City Council learned during a presentation at their regular meeting on Monday night, Jan. 27.

Erin Allen, Business Development director for Midland GIS solutions, Maryville, Mo., said a number of Iowa cities have already contracted with her firm to find and map their water and sanitary sewer systems.

John Lloyd, Tama Public Works director was present for the meeting and told council members he was using a GPS system to map Tama's system by himself.

As another selling point of using the GPS technology, Allen said many cities have aging public works employees who are planning retirement or whom are already gone. In some cases they were the only ones with knowledge of where lines, valves and manholes are located.

Allen's initial package proposal totaled $28,493 in cost. It included locating and mapping the sanitary sewer and water utility networks and the water meters. Wall maps and "truck" maps would be provided. The maps could then be used to pinpoint the existing areas of the systems and quickly determine how to best make repairs or changes.

Zmolek told council members he would prefer the maps included location of curb boxes rather than meters. Allen said she would bring a revised proposal back to the council for consideration.

Zmolek told The Chronicle the city lines have many valves of which locations are not known. in addition, many manholes been covered up over time by repaving.

To have these items identified would prove valuable he indicated.

In other business the council:

voted to raise the charge for accepting leachate from the Tama County Landfill and treating it at the city water treatment plant from two cents to three cents per gallon effective July 1. Leachate is water which runs off collection cells at the landfill and retained. It is then transported by tanker truck to the treatment plant. A total of $15,037 was received by the city for these fees last year.

appointed Rebecca Chyma, as the rural member of the Toledo Public Library Board. Toledo voters approved including a rural resident on the board in the November, 2013, city election.

approved payment of a bill for wiring at the Toledo Airport totaling $578 to Bingham Plumbing and Electric, Toledo, for repairs made after a storm knocked down a utility pole. Alliant Energy donated a new pole.

approved continued membership on the Tama County Economic Development Commission for 2014-15 with dues set at $3,512 or $1.50 per capita resident.

approved liquor sales license renewals for Fareway and El Campesino and a beer sales license renewal for Kwik Star.



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