Landowners call for a stop of grading project in Sioux City

Sioux City landowners claim the 175,000 cubic yards of dirt being moved has impeded their...
Sioux City landowners claim the 175,000 cubic yards of dirt being moved has impeded their aquifer, causing the property to dry up.(KTIV)
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 5:42 PM CDT
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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) -Some Sioux City landowners are appealing a city grading permit granted to a local construction company to grade land on 28th Street in Sioux City.

Russ and Rick Bertrand own land near the site that Lieber Construction is grading. They say Lieber’s work, to move dirt on the property at 5515 28th Street, is causing “irreparable” harm to their nearby property.

In a letter to the city, the Bertrands contend the 175,000 cubic yards of dirt being piled up is impeding their underlying aquifer, which they claim forced the well on their property to go dry. They’re asking for the grading operation to be declared a public nuisance, and have the property returned to its original condition.

“Right now they’ve put three tons of weight, per square foot, on our aquifer. What does that mean? It’s pushing the water,” said Rick Bertrand during Monday’s city council meeting. “They’ve created a 20-foot high dam, by 300 feet long; they’ve stopped the water flow. They told the neighbor if you need water, get a pump at your expense and pump it over our dam and then you can water your cows if they get dried out.”

At Monday’s city council meeting, an engineer for Lieber Construction said, in his opinion, no hazard exists.

Ryan Callahan believes the drought caused the Bertrands’ well to go dry. An attorney for Lieber Construction, says the grading permit, which was issued on Aug. 14, was “validly issued.”

Monday night, the council deferred a decision on the grading permit.