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City gets $200,000 grant for water

The city of Kenmare just received a $200,000 boost toward plans to upgrade its water system.

9/23/09 (Wed)

 

The city of Kenmare just received a $200,000 boost toward plans to upgrade its water system.

 

The North Dakota Department of Commerce, in conjunction with the Souris Basin Planning Council, provided the grant to the city. The funds will be used for the Kenmare water tower and booster pump station project.

 

“We’ve been very fortunate to receive this money,” said Kenmare mayor Roger Ness, who is also a member of the Souris Basin Planning Council. Then he smiled and continued, “It’s a small part of what we need. The whole project will cost close to $1.6 or $1.7 million.”

 

NAWS line to

Kenmare complete

According to city engineer Ryan Ackerman, of Ackerman-Estvold Engineering & Management Consulting in Minot, the city’s water project is taking place in four phases.

 

The first phase, which was essentially complete as of August, was to lay pipeline to transport NAWS water to the Kenmare distribution system. “We are ready for NAWS water,” said Ness. “We should be getting water from Minot later this fall or by early winter.”

 

Under a contract arranged with the State Water Commission, Kenmare will purchase water from the city of Minot during an interim period until a biota treatment plant for Missouri River water is constructed by NAWS. The city of Berthold is already receiving water from Minot under a similar agreement. Other entities, including the Upper Souris Water District, portions of the North Central Rural Water Consortium, and the cities of Sherwood and Mohall, will soon come online with the NAWS distribution system and Minot city water.

 

Installation of the NAWS pipeline has continued this summer, and extended past Kenmare toward Mohall and Sherwood. A pipeline connecting Kenmare to the NAWS system was finished in August.

 

According to Ness, that pipeline will bring Minot city water into Kenmare’s system either through the existing reservoir or directly to the old storage tower. The reservoir will be used during peak demand times, such as the summer months, when Minot water will be blended with Kenmare’s own supply and then distributed. During times of lower demand, such as winter, Kenmare customers will receive the new supply directly in their taps.

 

Ness explained that the portion of the pipeline from the NAWS project into the city supply was funded partially by a $118,000 Community Development Block Grant received in 2008. “Kenmare will finance the remaining $130,000,” Ness said. “We’ve gone to a local bank, who will fund this.”

 

Blending city of Minot water with Kenmare water will correct issues with arsenic levels in the local supply. Kenmare has been out of compliance with the federal standards for arsenic adopted in 2006. The law requires arsenic to be restricted to a maximum level of 10 parts per billion (ppb), and typical readings for Kenmare range from 11 to 14 ppb.

 

Funds from the latest grant awarded to Kenmare will actually go toward expenses for two other phases of the water project.

 

The existing elevated water storage tower, with a capacity of about 50,000 gallons, will be replaced by one five times larger at 250,000 gallons. “We’ll build that east of the existing one on the same lot,” Ness said.

 

The cost of the new tank will be $900,000. The larger size will allow the city to eventually discontinue use of its underground reservoirs for the domestic water supply, with water pumped through the NAWS system directly into the new tank.

 

A new booster pump station, at a cost of approximately $250,000, will facilitate and control that process. Negotiations are underway between the city and Farmers Union Oil Company to purchase an acre of land east of the city’s old landfill. The station would be housed there in a 12’x12’ building.

 

Bids for the water tower project will go out this winter, with an expected completion date of 2011. “If they can get started right away on the elevated tank, they may finish in one construction season,” Ackerman said.

 

Bids for the booster pump station could be let at the same time, with a similar construction schedule.

 

“Replacing the water tower and purchasing a new booster pump are just a part of the extensive project involving the NAWS system being piped from Minot to Kenmare,” said Greg Hagen, executive director of the Souris Basin Planning Council. “The city could not accomplish this without the state grant, which eliminates the need for special assessments to its residents.”

 

Funds for the project came from the Community Development Block Grant program managed by the North Dakota Department of Commerce. The program provides financial assistance to eligible cities and counties in the state. The eight regional planning councils receive an allocation from the state to fund projects in their regions.

 

Pressure regulation

The new elevated tank will distribute water into the Kenmare system by gravity feed, but the fourth phase of the project involves the installation of pressure regulation stations in the city’s water system to correct some other issues. “Kenmare is built on a hill and the town has a pressure problem,” Ackerman explained. “There are places where it’s either too low or too high.”

 

He used Kenmare High School as an example where the pressure, at 30 pound-per-square-inch (psi) borders on unacceptable for fire protection. At the other end of the spectrum is the lower portion of town. “We see large pressures in excess of 100 psi,” he said. “That’s high for domestic plumbing.”

 

The pressure range poses potential hazards to the city’s water supply, especially in times of peak summer use, related to sanitary and fire protection. The new pressure regulation stations will create two zones within the city’s water system to stabilize pressure, regardless of demands put on the system. “The project also calls for additional water lines to be run through town, to help with water quality,” said Ackerman.

 

Cost of the pressure regulation station portion of the project is estimated at $450,000, with bids scheduled to go out later this fall.

 

Search for funding goes on

Ackerman and Ness acknowledge the high cost and broad scope of the project. The two are working extensively to seek a variety of funding, including the CDBG grants already received, to help pay for the expenses and reduce the impact on Kenmare residents.

 

“There’s a USDA application under process for a three percent line of credit through the Department of Health for the tower,” said Ackerman. “For the booster pump and pressure regulation stations, we’ve secured half a million local share financed with a one percent loan from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund through the Department of Health.”

 

Both Ackerman and Ness want to avoid any special assessments related to the water project, but they agreed water rates may have to increase. “We’ll make our loan payments through water rates and some of the city sales tax,” said Ackerman, “but instead of producing water like they do now, the city of Kenmare will be buying water.”

 

The purchase price in the contract for the NAWS system is currently $2.20 per thousand gallons for the city. “Then there other costs associated with the project, including repaying debt, paying employees, insurance, vehicles, and maintenance on the system,” Ackerman said. “We will do a rate analysis and devise a new rate schedule for the city, after other funding has been secured.”

 

Ackerman agreed with Ness that the grants received have helped the project considerably. “In the last five years, Kenmare’s done pretty well,” he said as he listed the $320,000 total awarded so far for the water project and $50,000 for the new fire hall.

 

Get your new meter in

Ness asked local residents to take time to install new water meters within the next few weeks. “We will now be charged for every gallon that comes through this town,” he said, adding that the city wants to maintain accurate readings. “There are some people out there who still have to upgrade their meters.”

 

Ackerman noted that improvements to Kenmare’s water system, especially the new elevated tank, will provide secondary benefits to the community. “This also opens up areas to the east [of town] for more development,” he said, “and they should get fire service out to the airport now.”

 

He also mentioned that while NAWS is constructing their own water storage tank, for one million gallons, about a mile east of Kenmare, the city cannot use that tank for its municipal system.

 

“NAWS set up a fixed flow rate to the city of Kenmare,” he said. “In the interim period [until Missouri River water is treated and distributed], that rate is 137 gallons per minute. Ultimately, it will be 274 gallons per minute, but we have to have storage in our own distribution system for fire flows and to guarantee instantaneous demand. We still need storage to take care of the peaks and valleys on any given day.”

 

More information about the change in Kenmare’s water supply and potential increase in water rates will be made available as those details are finalized. For questions about water meters, contact the city auditor’s office at 701-385-4232.