Seligman looks into importance of irrigation, contracts in place

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The city of Seligman faces similar concerns as other communities in the area when it come to irrigation.

Brian Nichols, Seligman city clerk, said the levels have been too high a few time this year already.

“Part of that is due to the amount of rainfall,” he said. “Another part is some irrigation complications we have come across.”

Nichols said the city has one agreement with one property that allows them to irrigate on the property.

“All in all, we have water out there that we need to irrigate with, and we have farmers who help get rid of the water in a mutual agreement,” he said.

Nichols said this year, the city has experienced some issues with pumps being clogged.

“Our main pump, specifically, [is the issue],” he said. “Lagoons are notorious for having issues with turtles, and we are no exception.”

Nichols said chunks of turtle shells get sucked up into the pumps, and the city battles that quite a bit.

“That is a continuous issue, not just due to the rain this year,” he said. “Flooding isn’t necessarily an issue in our area. The way the ground lays here, we have a few areas that get a little higher than normal flow through them, but not to the point where it is flooding roads or homes.”

Nichols said the sewer systems have all been smoke tested within the last year.

“That did bring up some issues, which the city has gone through and fixed,” he said. “We have taken care of many cleanups, breaks and abandoned properties that had sewer connections that were wide open.”

Nichols said the city has already narrowed down inflow and infiltration of rainwater to a few key areas based on how much usage each of the 14 lift stations receives during high-rain occurrences.

“We have done a pretty good job of getting that tracked down, and we know what areas to attack on that,” he said. “If the amount of rainfall were to heavily flood our system, it would overwork our pumps and lift stations.”

Nichols said there are 14 lift stations that all pump into one, and there are two motors or pumps in each lift station.

“Some of those can [cost up to] $35,000 to replace,” he said. “If there were to be an issue with additional wear and tear on a pump, we have the worry and concern that the main lift station that pumps directly into the lagoon can be overwhelmed.”

Nichols said at that point, sewer and water could possibly make it onto the ground.

“Our sewer system is running extremely well,” he said. “There are no issues that other communities don’t face as well. We have pumps that have been in the ground for 10-12 years that are finally up for being rebuilt.”

Nichols said the biggest pump, which the city has two of, cost $20,000 each to rebuild.

“We rebuilt one in December, and the other one should be picked up at anytime,” he said. “There is a lot more cost to keeping up on the maintenance than what people know.”

Nichols said the smoke testing did not reveal any breaks in the lines, and the sewer system is intact.

“Our main two concerns are rainwater making its way in through breaks and maintenance, which is just general wear and tear on the system,” he said. “As far as irrigation goes, the city has a close relationship with the individual and the property that we irrigate on.

“We depend on them as much as they do on us. They receive the water, and that helps their crops grow.

Nichols said all in all, the only concern to the city is to empty the lagoon by the end of the year.

“The agreement that the city has allows us to irrigate on a total of 125 acres, 35 of which the city owns,” he said.

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