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Donnybrook and Tolley area water users now hooked up to NAWS

Approximately 150 water hook-ups in the Donnybrook and Tolley areas were connected Tuesday to water supplied by the City of Minot through the Northwest Area Water Supply (NAWS) pipeline.

12/23/09 (Wed)

 

Approximately 150 water hook-ups in the Donnybrook and Tolley areas were connected Tuesday to water supplied by the City of Minot through the Northwest Area Water Supply (NAWS) pipeline.

 

Gary Hager, general manager of the Upper Souris Water District met with Perry Weiner from the State Water Commission and engineers on the NAWS project to oversee a smooth transition as valves between the two systems were opened.

 

Hager said customers in Plain, Ivanhoe, White Ash, Roosevelt, the eastern half of Sauk Prairie and the western half of Callahan townships would start receiving the new water in their taps, as well as residents in the towns of Donnybrook and Tolley.

 

“We have about 90 rural hookups and about 35 each in Tolley and Donnybrook,” said Hager.

 

The area served by the new water supply represents a portion of the Upper Souris Water District System I, with customers along the rest of that system scheduled to receive the new water after construction on the pipeline is completed to Sherwood and Mohall during the summer and fall of 2010.

 

Customers of the Upper Souris Water District System II will have to wait until NAWS pipeline construction is finished north of the Minot Air Force Base. “We’re shooting for 2011,” Hager said.

 

The city of Kenmare connected to the NAWS system two weeks ago, purchasing water from Minot so the municipal water supply would comply with federal arsenic standards. For the Upper Souris Water District, the change to the new supply will assist with the issue of water quantity. “We needed more gallons,” said Hager.

 

He noted the current sources for both systems on the water district meet all federal regulations for quality. “We’re even better than some places,” he said.

 

However, some customers along the line have lost water service during times of peak demand. “Our plant is designed to provide 150 gallons per minute,” Hager said. “At peak times, the demand can be 250 gallons per minute.”

 

Much of the water flowing during those peak demands goes toward agricultural use. Hager noted an increased demand for water in Systems I and II with recent changes in farming techniques. Forty to forty-five percent of the total water usage in the Upper Souris Water District goes toward agricultural application.

 

“Ten years ago, we sold 47 million gallons a year,” he said. “With the increase in spraying, by 2008, we sold 61 millions gallons. Our average use per month is 3.6 million gallons on System I, but that goes up to six million gallons a day during the spraying season. That’s when this will help.”

 

Hager did not anticipate a need to blend the new water with that from the district’s current supply at this time. “But we will blend during the peak time if the demand out there requires it,” he said.

 

Initial flushing of the affected portion of System I took place Tuesday, with more flushing scheduled over the next few days.

 

“People should be patient,” Hager said. “This may take a week to ten days. We’re flushing as fast as we can.”

 

He also noted the disinfectant used in the Minot water supply is the same as that used by the Upper Souris Water District.

 

The cost for the new water will be shared among all System I members at this time. The contract with NAWS and the city of Minot calls for a charge of $2.20 per 1000 gallons purchased. “Everyone [on System I] will benefit,” Hager said. “This frees up more gallons at our Kenmare water treatment plant for use during peak times.”

 

For now, Hager estimated an increase of $3.50 per month for most customers. The rates may be re-evaluated and adjusted after more customers are added along the line, and then again after water can be supplied by the Missouri River, treated, and distributed throughout the NAWS system.

 

Hager emphasized that Upper Souris Water District customers would continue seeing the same service and attention to water quality matters they’ve been experiencing.

 

“We’re doing everything right now the same as we’ve been doing, plus buying water,” said Hager. “When we can use Lake Sakakawea water, that will supply 100 percent of our needs, and we may see a cost savings at that point.”

 

U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota sent his congratulations for another successful NAWS connection. Dorgan serves as Chairman of the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, with a total of $25.84 million approved in the past three years specifically to fund construction on the NAWS project.

 

“The funding we’ve been able to direct to the Garrison Diversion and NAWS has allowed us to make some exciting progress on the rural water supply in North Dakota,” Dorgan said. “The completion of this latest component of NAWS will be a great benefit for those who live in the Donnybrook and Tolley area. This is an investment in the region that is welcome news during Christmas week.

 

The connection between NAWS and the Upper Souris Water District provided another visible sign of progress for the project. In addition to the pipeline segment completed between Berthold and Kenmare earlier this year and the connection to NAWS established for the municipal supply in Kenmare, a million gallon NAWS storage tank was under construction east of Kenmare at a cost of $1.841 million, and several miles of pipeline were laid on the Mohall-Sherwood-All Seasons segment at a cost of $5.114 million and on the All Seasons-Upham segment at a cost of $680,000.

 

Once those segments are completed next year, water from the city of Minot will flow through the entire northern tier of the system until Lake Sakakawea water is available. Design and construction of a water treatment plant for the NAWS project is on hold until a lawsuit filed by the Province of Manitoba and the State of Missouri is settled in federal court. Currently, the judge assigned to the case is reviewing final statements and additional information regarding placement of pipeline in specific areas.

 

Hager told his customers to expect to see clearer water flowing from their taps within the next few days. “I’m told it will even make good coffee,” he said.