City leaders entered into a three-way contract last week to conduct an engineering study of the city’s water system.

The study will be conducted by Cochran, which is funded by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) with a city match.

The study will include an evaluation of the overall water system, water supply wells, storage units, as well as identify shortfalls and propose improvements, according to the City Engineer Jonathan Zimmermann.

“This study will evaluate our water system in its current status, investigate to determine system shortfalls and improvements that would be necessary to comply with current requirements,” he said.

Zimmermann added that the study results will show the water system’s operational and financial capabilities.

The total cost of the project is about $86,000. The city will be responsible for 42 percent, or about $36,200. The study could result in a five- to 10-year improvement program for the city’s water system. The most recent study was conducted in the late 1990s, Zimmermann said.

Also included in the scope of work would be a study of water pressure levels, pipe widths and future water needs for the community.

Earlier this year, Alderman Jim Albrecht questioned if the study could be conducted in-house instead of paying a contractor to conduct the utility study.

Zimmermann has said that the city staff knows where some improvements are needed but there is uncertainty in water resources for fire protection, and the city does not have the computer software to conduct a study to the scale that an engineering firm does.

City Administrator Russell Rost noted that the study is a strategic plan that could improve maintenance which would prevent water main breaks, and cut down on overtime when repair crews are called in overnight.

He added that fire protection is a major issue in the future updates to city water systems.

In January, Cochran received the highest marks for the request for qualifications, or RFQs, which are required to receive grant funding under the DNR program.