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AP Iowa

August 22, 2013

FAA ruling could halt water tower plans in Le Mars

LE MARS, Iowa (AP) — Officials in Le Mars are scrambling to change plans for a 140-foot-tall water tower after the Federal Aviation Administration ruled the structure would obstruct flights at the city's airport.

The city must redesign its plans for a 1 million gallon water tower after the FAA's ruling that any tower higher than 86 feed would be a hazard, the Le Mars Daily Sentinel reported (http://bit.ly/16hKsa7) Wednesday.

The city bought 2.34 acres of land for the tower and booster station in southwest Le Mars, southeast of the Le Mars Municipal Airport.

"We think that the location is in fact the best location, and as a result of that we really are reluctant to change the location," City Administrator Scott Langel said.

However, something will need to change if the FAA sticks by its decision.

The current plan calls for a 90-foot-tall column topped by a 50-foot-tall bowl. The city could instead build a ground-level water tank, but Langel said that wouldn't be ideal.

"If you have multiple towers that are connected to the same distribution system, it's always most advantageous to have towers that are at the same total height," he said.

Langel said McClure Engineering, of Fort Dodge, is reviewing the location and design of the tower. The company also is seeking more information from the FAA.

The FAA ruling came as officials were in the midst of bidding the project for construction. On Tuesday, the City Council rejected all bids to allow for a redesign. Langel said he hoped officials can have the project "put back together" by October.

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Information from: Daily Sentinel, http://www.lemarssentinel.com

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