Federal money will expand water access in SW North Dakota

By  | 

DICKINSON, N.D. - The state is getting a $29 million boost from the federal government to improve water projects.

As the southwest region grows, so does the need for clean water.

The Southwest Pipeline Project will receive $2 million for expanding capacity at the Dickinson plant, allowing them to process six million gallons of water per day.

"People wouldn't move here and live here if they didn't have quality water. And so with additional growth, we need additional raw water capacity and treatment water capacity,” said Mary Massad, Southwest Water Authority CEO.

New money from the federal government is helping the Southwest Water Authority bring a new treatment plant online, and build a residual handling facility. That facility will handle leftover materials like lime used to treat the water. Since the early 1980s, hundreds of millions of dollars from the state and federal government has gone into this project.

"It's not a short term investment by the state or by the people, and it's for your children and your children's children,” said Massad.

Without the plant, current capacity wouldn't be able to meet peak demands. Adding six million gallons a day will increase the amount of people the project can serve, but it doesn't solve all the needs.

"We're maxed out in some of those areas and we just need to put more pipe in the ground. And that again is funding,” said Plant Manager Grace Rixen-Handford.

Adding more pipe will take millions of dollars to provide clean water for 14,000 more people. Since 1991, more than $58 million has been paid back to the state from fees collected by customers connected to Southwest Pipeline Project.