WATER AND SEWER
It was not Argyle's good fortune to be situated over an aquifer that would be a source of good, clear water, so the community had to depend on cisterns or shallow wells from which water had to be hauled or carried. With the expanding population and in the interest of public health, the village council decided to look into the possibility of installing both a water and sanitation sewer system.
In June of 1918, the Argyle village council received plans for a complete water and sewer system that proposed taking water from the Middle River at the foot of Second Street and, through a six-inch pipe, pump it into two underground settling basins. The unlimited supply of water would greatly reduce the fire hazard, as well as cut the insurance rates.
The sewage would be gathered through 10, 12, and I5-inch pipes from all areas of town and emptied into a sink at the west end of Fifth Street. Here it would be automatically lifted by an electric pump into a 12-inch main that would carry it to a septic tank located on the riverbank and from there into the river.
A special election was held on June 27. 1918, to determine if there was public support for the installation of the water and sewer system. The voters strongly favored the project. as well as the sale of $40,000 worth of bonds to finance the construction. With the approval of the people. the council was empowered to proceed. and the work got underway as soon as possible.
The contracting firm of Schmuth and Jackson was the successful bidder on both projects. By early September. their trenching equipment had arrived and was at work on the sewer system. The pipes for the water had not arrived yet, but work was to be pushed as rapidly as possible, with the view of having everything completed by freezeup. Because of break downs with the trencher and the delay in getting repairs, work did not move as fast as had been hoped for, and most of the work had to be delayed until the following summer.
The installation of the two svstems at the same time was costly. - . and it was necessary to raise money through the sale of bonds. With the voters' approval, the council arranged for the sale of $42,000 worth of waterworks bonds and $17,000 worth of sewer bonds. These bonds would be retired through the assessment of all property served by the utilities.
By late November of 1918, work has been discontinued on the sewers due to frost. bUt continued on the reservoir by the river in . hope that the water line to the power plant could be completed. With the coming of winter, this too came to a halt before completion.
The original plans for the water plant called for the use of a pneumatic type system to provide water pressure. There were to be large tanks, one for household use and the other for fire fighting. The water would be stored in these tanks under air pressure, the tank for fire fighting to be under much higher pressure than the one for household use.
This plan was dropped in favor of building a water tower instead. Bids were called for, and the bid of Des Moines Bridge and Iron Company was accepted, They offered to build the tower, complete with necessary piping. for $8.885. The tower was to be 100 feet high with a 50,000 gallon tank, adding another 18 feet. On top would be installed a large electric light that would be visible for many miles. Work was begun on the tower March 20, 1919, and was completed April 24, 1919. All that remained was the installation of the main from the river, and the tower would be ready for service. Work continued all that summer, and by October, both the water and sewer systems were. for all practical purposes, complete.
The water system served the town well, but the river was not a dependable source, for it was often low, and in winter would quit flowing - causing oxygen to become depleted. and the waters to become stagnant. At times it was hardly fit to use. The problem came to a head during the drought years of the 30's. In 1934, the situation became extremely critical, when the water at the supply intake became exhausted. It became necessary to use the fire engines to pump water from the pools formed by the dam which was built in 1916.
In the meantime. there was a hurried search for a possible source of water within a practical distance. It was decided to dig a well cast of the river on land owned by Pete Kurz. A good flow of water was found there. but it would be necessary to put in a pipeline from the well pump to the existing line on the other side of the river. This would involve burying the pipe below the riverbed. a project that had to be done before spring in order to avoid the need to build expensive coffer dams. Help was available from the federal government through the Civil Works Administration. The P. W .A. would pay the wages of those employed on the condition that the village furnish the materials. Through the work of a large crew, the hookup to the new well was completed. and the water shortage averted for the time being. It was necessary to continue looking for a better source, as the flow from the new well was found to be barely adequate.
Test wells along the road a half mile east and a half mile north of the town showed there was a good source of water in that area, and in 1936, an acre of land in the northeast corner of SE II4 of Section 10 was purchased from the Robertson Brothers. A well drilled there provided an abundance of good water. A pipeline was put in from this well three quarters of a mile south to the pipeline at the Kurz well. The trench was dug by hand by men employed by the Civil Works Administration. This well and another that was added later will assure Argyle of plenty of sparkling, pure spring water in the future.
ARGYLE DUMP GROUND
A notice appeared in the October 1895 issue of the Marshall County Banner, to wit: "Notice On account of opening the new plat of Park Addition, the dumping ground on the river has been discontinued, and all persons are hereby notified not to dump any substance, or in any manner trespass on any part of Section 15. All offenders will be prosecuted. "
The village purchased two acres of land in NW1/4 of Section 10 from Alphonse Beaudry in 1895 for $120. This was used as the city dump until 1981, at which time it was covered up and closed to future dumping. About 1975, a sanitary landfill system came into being, and all the garbage is now being trucked out of town.
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