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Seymour council discusses recent drowning incident

By Rich Palzewic
Staff Writer

SEYMOUR – At its Monday, Aug. 24, meeting, the Seymour Common Council discussed the recent drowning at Lake Park.

On Saturday, Aug. 15, Seymour officers responded to the park at about 2:45 p.m. for a person who went underwater and never resurfaced.

After not being able to find the victim, more resources were called in, and a body was eventually pulled from the water.

“We do know there was no criminal activity or foul play involved,” said Mayor Ryan Kraft. “There was an autopsy performed, but we were told the findings won’t be released for 6-8 weeks. It’s an unfortunate tragedy, and we empathize with the family and friends of the victim. When it comes to our green space, we take lots of pride in the lake.”

Kraft said the park is currently open with a swim-at-your-own-risk policy, and the city has no plans to change it.

“There was another drowning there in the early 1980s,” he said. “At that time, the city had lifeguards at the lake – I was there when it happened as an 8-year old.”

Kraft said he’s thankful for the first responders from the city and outlying agencies who responded quickly to the drowning and did their best.

“With everything going on in our country with COVID-19 and the unrest, I’m even more thankful for what we have,” he said.

Kraft said the name of the drowning victim hasn’t been released yet.

Compliance maintenance report

The council also heard from John Schoen, director of public works and utilities, about the city’s 2019 Compliance Maintenance Annual Report in regards to the Seymour Wastewater Treatment Facility.

The city received a 3.41 grade on a 4.0 scale.

“Overall, we did quite well,” said Schoen. “In the areas we got low marks, it’s been consistent with years past, but we are making slow changes and improvements in those areas.”

The city received perfect marks in effluent quality and plant performance (three different areas), staffing and preventative maintenance, operator and certification and education, financial management and sanitary sewer collection systems.

An “F” was received in influent flow and loading and a “C” in biosolids quality and management.

“Influent flow is from the strength of the wastewater received because of the dairy and the amount of rainwater and snowmelt that gets into the sanitary system,” Schoen said. “Over the past few years, we’ve started replacing some of the manhole covers to cut down on the infiltration from stormwater into the sanitation system. We are seeing improvements, but some of the problem areas are not worth rehabbing until we can afford to replace them.”

Schoen said another problem is older houses don’t have sump pits, or ones that drain directly into the sanitation system.

“Houses built in the ‘40s and early ‘50s have that – a combined sewer,” he said. “There weren’t any ordinances against it then. All their foundation drains tie into the sanitary sewer along with their plumbing. Unless we have the infrastructure for homeowners to connect to, we end up making more problems. It’s going to take us a little while to get those connections in place.”

Schoen said to get the whole city in compliance would be a financial burden.

“The hard part is making the homeowner come up with $5,000 to put in a sump pump and everything that’s needed to go along with it,” he said. “As a city, we’d almost have to pay for that upfront and give the homeowners some financing to make sure it gets done.”

Golf outing for K-9

To benefit the city’s K-9 police unit, the first Seymour Classic Golf Outing took place Aug. 21 at Crystal Springs Golf Course.

“It was a huge success, and Sergeant (John) Fuller did a phenomenal job,” said Kraft. “It was extremely well run, and we got lots of positive feedback. The weather was perfect for the 22 teams who took part, which was more than we hoped for. I’m hoping this is something we can do annually for the K-9 program or another worthy cause.”

Alderman Alex Tetzlaff and Kraft each golfed on a team.

“There was lots of interest in the K-9 program from the people there,” Tetzlaff said. “It was fun – we couldn’t have asked for a better day. It was also nice to see participants from nearby law enforcement agencies – Brown and Outagamie counties were there and the Oneida tribal police had a few players.”

Approximately $8,600 was raised at the event.

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