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A $26 million expansion project that will essentially double the daily capacity at Minot’s Water Treatment Plant is set to begin this spring.
The project is part of the Northwest Area Water Supply Project, which will provide clean drinking water to many communities in northwest and north central North Dakota. The $26 million project is funded between the North Dakota State Water Commission (65%) and the City of Minot (35%). The City’s portion of the funding was collected through Minot’s 1-cent sales tax.
“This expansion of our Water Treatment Plant will extend the facility west into the current parking lot. Essentially, we’re adding two more clarifiers to increase our treatment capacity,” said Jason Sorenson, Assistant Public Works Director for the City of Minot. “When this project is completed, the old clarifiers will be rehabbed and eventually downsized to be more efficient. Our ultimate goal is to get to the NAWS design capacity of treating 28 million gallons per day.”
The original Minot Water Treatment plant was built in 1951, and has undergone several expansions and renovations. In 1951, the plant could treat 6 million gallons of water per day. By 1961, renovations and additions boosted the plant’s daily production to 18 million gallons per day. The plant currently treats between 13 million and 14 million gallons of water per day.
The prime contractor on the expansion project is PKG of Fargo. Sealed bids for the project were opened in late December. Sorenson said the project is expected to begin this spring, with construction taking approximately two years to complete.
“We started design of the Water Treatment Plant expansion early last year. This project, and other projects that are part of the NAWS system, have been under injunction for many years,” Sorenson said.
On Aug. 11, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the NAWS project could proceed. In its ruling, the court said the Bureau of Reclamation’s Environmental Impact Study for the project fulfilled the requirements of the National Environmental Protection Act. The court also dismissed lawsuits brought against the project, lifted an injunction and allowed the project to move forward. Lawsuits aimed at stopping the construction of the NAWS project had been filed in previous years by the state of Missouri and the Canadian province of Manitoba.
Construction on NAWS began in 2002. The project will bring water from Lake Sakakawea to the City of Minot’s water treatment plant. From there, the water will be treated and distributed to a host of area communities, including Minot, Burlington, Mohall, Sherwood, Kenmare, Berthold, and Minot Air Force Base, in addition to West River Water District, All Seasons Water District and Upper Souris Water District.
The project has been funded with federal, state and local funds, and is designed to bring Missouri River water to some 100,000 residents in North Dakota. Before moving to Minot, the raw water will first be treated for biota transfer at a facility near Max before final treatment to drinking water standards occurs at the Minot Water Treatment Plant. The design of the treatment plant at Max is under way.