July 11, 2012

City gets $3.2 million grant for new water, sewer lines

By Kate Ruggles
Farmer Staff Writer

The City of Watford City and the Watford City Park Board were among the fortunate impact zone cities who received State Land Board impact grants this year.
On July 28, 2012, the Land Board awarded the city $3.2 million for the completion of water and sewer projects, as well as $64,000 to the Watford City Park District to relocate its softball and youth baseball field.
According to Justin Smith, director of Public Works for Watford City, water and wastewater management is a priority for Watford City right now.
“The city’s existing wastewater treatment system was designed to support a population of 2,300,” Smith states. “It’s estimated that the city’s current population is around 4,500. In addition, there are bulk sewage haulers and RV residents utilizing the city’s wastewater treatment system to the equivalent of 60,000 gallons per day, or roughly 1,000 additional people.”
The city also has aging infrastructure that needed updating before the boom and population spike.
“Last year’s grant awards had to go toward new infrastructure,” states Smith. “This year’s grants have to go toward updating and expanding our existing infrastructure.”
The city had requested $4.5 million in state funding to expand the city’s wastewater treatment facility, by replacing two lift stations and adding two aeration ponds to the south of the existing lagoons. These expansions will service a population well beyond Watford City’s current intake. Watford City received $2.8 million of the requested amount.
The city also requested just over $800,000 toward a water main upgrade, of which they received $213,000. This upgrade will replace the city’s oldest waterlines with larger capacity pipe to handle increased demand.
“A new water main and components will more adequately serve the water capacity requirements and the area for 40 to 50 years,” states Smith.
The proposed $800,000 project will take place on a five block area and includes 2nd Street Northwest from 4th Avenue Northwest to 6th Avenue Northwest and on 3rd Street Northeast from Park Avenue to 4th Avenue Northeast. According to Smith, as the city acquires the funds, it will continue to upsize its older watermain infrastructure.
The final grant award was $180,000 of a $225,000 request for the city to install a new supervisory control and data acquisition system (SCADA), which will allow city employees to monitor and control remote systems from one central location and, in turn, save operation and maintenance costs.
“The SCADA system will save man hours, because it will reduce necessary site visits and repairs,” Smith states. “It will allow the city to more effectively manage its water and wastewater systems.”
An added benefit, according to Smith, is the SCADA system’s ability to tie-in with the Western Area Water Supply Project and aid in monitoring and managing the water system.
On top of the grants awarded to Watford City, the Watford City Park Board was especially privileged to not only receive its grant request, but to be the only park board in the state of North Dakota to be awarded a grant.
What single park board request could be so consequential as to receive the attention of the Energy Infrastructure and Impact Grant Program? According to Robin Arndt, park board supervisor, it had more to do with safety.
“The Cal Ripkin and the girls fast pitch softball teams use the diamond on the far north of town, across the bypass,” states Arndt. He states that parents either have to drive their kids to the field, or the kids are forced to cross the bypass by themselves on foot - a less than ideal situation for anyone, let alone children.
Arndt’s proposal is to move the field to a property nearer to other city fields. A project that will cost roughly $160,000. Arndt requested $87,000 from the Land Board and received 80 percent, giving the Watford City Park Board $64,000 to create a safer area for the city’s children to play baseball and softball.