Incentive for Bardwell Park neighborhood to connect to city water discussed, formal vote expected at later meeting

The Bemidji City Council took no action to incentivize the Bardwell Park neighborhood to connect to city water during their work session last night.

Of the $12.5 million after negotiations with 3M, the council will likely vote in a future meeting on how best to create the incentive for the neighborhood immediately southeast of the city’s wellfields.

The concern arises from the PFAs in the city’s wellfield possibly pluming out to nearby private wells.

These wells in the Bardwell Park area were tested by MDH and PFAs weren’t detected.

The six present members of the council seemed to agree that up to $3,000 water connection fees per connection should be waived.

In total, the city could reimburse water customers in that area up to $84,000.

Most of that area was developed in the past 30 years, so the private wells may still be operable.

City Engineer Craig Gray says depending on the age of the private well, property owners may not be too eager to connect to city water.

The infrastructure to connect to city water is already available in that area south of Anne St. NW.

The city has since built a water treatment facility to filter out PFAs from the city’s water supply.

The second phase of the plant will be constructed next year, and the first phase has been operating for a few months.

Larissa Donovan was the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016, through July 2023. She covered all the beats in north-central Minnesota, such as local government, crime, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University. You can follow along with Larissa's live tweets of meetings and events on Twitter!

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