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Hastings Utilities reviews plan for nitrate removal
Dangerous nitrate levels have forced the city of Hastings to shut down two water wells over the past few years. Thursday, the Board of Public Works heard a proposal from an Engineering company on how to treat that water.
HDR Engineering has been studying the nitrate and uranium issue in Hastings over the past few years.
Nitrate levels tend to be an issue in agriculturally rich areas like Nebraska.
Fertilizer is one of the biggest causes of high nitrate levels. Nitrate levels of 10 parts per million will close a water wells down.
Uranium on the other hand is naturally occurring. Only 30 parts per billion causes a health concern.
Representatives from HDR Engineering presented a two part plan to the Board of Public Works Thursday.
"We're suggesting or recommending a staged approach where we begin to capture the leading edge of those contaminants as they're coming towards the Hastings system and actually take the good water, the lower portion of the aquifer and use that, while we're taking the upper portion and storing it and using it for irrigation.That's kind of the first phase," said HDR Engineering Project Manager Glenn Dostal.
The second part is treatment. Timing of treatment will be staged based on additional data gathered over the next year or two.
They also gave two treatment possibilites: ion exchange or reverse osmosis.
"Reverse Osmosis does give you more flexibility in your treatment process and in the future if there's a new contaminant that comes along, it probably takes that out as, well," said Hastings Utilities Director Marv Schultes.
The estimated cost of the project is $46 million.
How much of that will be reflected onto consumers isn't known quite yet.
The Board of Public Works will continue to discuss the issue and the study before taking any action.
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