By Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer
Fire departments near Burtrum’s Long Lake no longer need to rely on tank trucks in the event of fires in the vicinity. Thanks to the Long Lake Improvement Association, there is now a dry hydrant on the south end of the lake.
In any area without water mains and fire hydrants, a dry hydrant is a cost-effective solution to the need for rapid access to water. A polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe is put out into the lake 100 feet, eight feet down so it will be under the ice in winter. It then runs 40 feet underground to the hydrant on shore
The impetus for the project came from Bruno Rohde, owner of The Hub Supper Club.
“He suggested that if we were interested in another project, that we consider putting in a dry hydrant,” said Long Lake Improvement Association President Rick Krauel.
The association is a 501(c)3 organization which used to have a simple slush fund. But when they began receiving a share of the gambling proceeds from The Hub, they needed to apply for nonprofit status and form a board.
“It took a year for all the paperwork to be done and for approval to be granted,” Krauel said. “We’re audited every year now.”
The group agreed with Rohde that a hydrant would be beneficial to everyone in the area. Diane Peters put together the annual fundraising golf tournament and proceeds were reserved for the hydrant.
“Diane did an unbelievable job of getting donations through the golf tournament,” said Krauel.
The Swanville Lions stepped forward with a donation of $1,000.
Meanwhile, Deb Gorman worked on gathering bids for the job. It was a challenge to find people who knew about dry hydrants.
“She went to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), where she was given a set of blueprints,” Krauel said. “She worked for six months to get the bids.”
With the Lions Club donation and the golf tournament proceeds of $2,300, the improvement association decided to cover the rest of the costs, which turned out to be $3,000.
“We could see where some of the money would be coming from,” said member Larry Boser.
“So we just took a vote and decided to do the hydrant and we’d pay the difference,” Krauel said.
Chad Twardowsky Excavating of Long Prairie took care of the site work and Bitz Plumbing of Grey Eagle did the installation, with many association members working right alongside them.
“Chad had put in a dry hydrant before, but Bitz went online and studied it,” said Krauel.
“The amount of expertise the association members have is amazing, all the people helping,” Boser said.
The Long Lake residents are very active with projects to benefit the lake and surrounding area. They do regular water testing and make shoreline improvements. A new public landing was installed and signage put in. They work on beaver control, and do Secchi disc readings to test water transparency.
“We’ve received many grants from Todd County Soil and Water Conservation to do rip rap along the shore,” said Boser, “and to put in eaves troughs to direct runoff into rain gardens instead of the lake.”
Funds for the association come in from Soil and Water grants, the Swanville Lions, The Hub, annual membership fees and half of the annual golf tournament proceeds.
“We actually hope we never have to use the hydrant,” Krauel said, “but if there is a need, here it is.”