City council seeks clarification from Southwest Water on pipeline proposal

Plans for a Southwest Water Authority pipeline to distribute drinking water throughout Killdeer may have slowed as city council members this week decided to reconsider agreements.

By BRYCE MARTIN

Herald Editor

Posted Feb. 8, 2013

KILLDEER — Plans for a Southwest Water Authority pipeline to distribute drinking water throughout Killdeer may have slowed as city council members this week decided to reconsider agreements.

City council members unanimously approved last year a motion to begin receiving Southwest Water pipeline to replace the city’s drinking water. At a recent Killdeer City Council meeting, council members approved an agreement with the Dickinson-based water utility to proceed. At its meeting Feb. 4, however, the council rescinded their earlier approval in effort to resume discussion and receive clarification on a few points.

A potential caveat of the contract is whether revenue from the existing water depot, where the city sells its industrial water, would be shared with Southwest Water.

Killdeer’s water depot serves as a significant source of revenue for the city, bringing in $1.1 million in 2012, which works into the city’s enterprise fund – funds to be used for upkeep and maintenance on existing water lines.

If the revenue is shared with Southwest, which is what the city is working to clarify, it will result in an unspecified loss for the city.

“Not to have that full revenue … it can be, financially, a big issue for us and the projects we have planned,” said Killdeer City Auditor Dawn Marquardt.

Southwest Water Authority was unavailable for comment.

If plans for the pipeline continue to fruition, Killdeer would no longer possess its own water treatment facility as water service would be handed over to Southwest. While no violations have been reported for the city’s drinking water, it largely consists of excess sodium.

“It’s not very good,” Marquardt said of the city’s water.

The American Heart Association issued a report in 1961 that suggests large amounts of sodium in drinking water is a significant source of decompensation, the failure of the heart to maintain adequate circulation, in well-controlled heart disease and poses a danger for patients who believe they are following safe low-sodium diets.

Over the past decade, the city voted twice on measures to replace the city’s drinking water, but voted against doing so due to the public not wanting it at that time.

“The option finally came down to either upgrade the city’s treatment facility or go with Southwest Water,” Marquardt said.

The city chose Southwest Water as the viable option.

As the project progressed, the state of North Dakota approved $21 million for the additional pipeline and expansion, with a projected date of construction in 2014.

“I think we’ve come a long way in the process,” she said.

Free land comes with a price

Greg Nordsven purchased four acres of land in northwestern Killdeer, outside of the city limits. His plan now is to give Killdeer that land, at no cost.

A portion of Nordsven’s four acres would be given to the city solely for development purposes.

The main drawback, however, is the lack of infrastructure on the land, specifically no water or sewer. Cost for establishing an infrastructure would fall onto the city’s shoulders.

Killdeer city council members discussed the notion of accepting the land at their Feb. 4 meeting, but decidedly took no action on the proposal as they seek what the plan would “look like on paper.”

The land as it stands now is “raw” land, not being used for any specified purpose.

“(Nordsven) would like to see the city build on it or have a developer that would build on it for more affordable housing,” Marquardt said.

Contact Bryce Martin at bmartin@countrymedia.net.


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