April 22, 2014

City of Arnegard and Arnegard Holdings cancel joint agreement

By Stephanie Norman
Farmer Staff Writer

Less than one year after the City of Arnegard and Arnegard Holdings approved an agreement that all city sewage would be piped south of town to the company’s man camp site for treatment and disposal, they have mutually decided to reverse the agreement.
The City of Arnegard is looking forward to resuming full responsibility of its sewage, according to Arnegard City Council member Jeff Kindel.
After the city outgrew its lagoon, it entered into a joint venture with Arnegard Holdings last summer. At some point, the city’s lagoon was damaged, causing leakage. Now, both the City of Arnegard and Arnegard Holdings face fines from the state.
Last week, the City of Arnegard agreed that all state requirements would be performed and completed within the state’s given time frames.
By June 1, a mitigation plan will be submitted to the state, Kindel said, and it will be implemented this summer. A comprehensive sewage solution will be done by the first of next year and long-term plans will be drawn out. If all of these tasks are complete, Kindel explained, then the $1,500 state fine to the City of Arnegard will be waived.
Much like many other small towns in the Bakken, Arnegard is just trying to get by with what they have had for years on end. As the oil boom continues to attract more people, the locals struggle to accommodate the growth.
Mayor Virginia Elliot said that Arnegard had been functioning just fine for many years with the existing lagoon. When the town was in the spotlight last summer, it caused an uproar of commotion.
“The city was already reluctant to have a joint venture because we were essentially giving up our responsibility,” Kindel said.
When Arnegard Waste Water offered to build a new facility to manage the city and Arnegard Holdings’ sewage waste, both parties essentially agreed. Because the new facility was not going to be located on city property, the city would have little say in how things would be operated.
To this day, the new facility has not been built.
“Things haven’t gone as we expected,” Elliot said. “Both parties agreed to cancel the joint agreement and the city will take care of its own sewage. There was not a fight. It was decided that if the joint venture was terminated, both sides would come out better off.”
“The city would rather have full control of its duties and responsibilities,” Kindel said.
Elliot said the City of Arnegard has not received any financial assistance from the state for their water or sewer system.
“The City of Arnegard is fiscally responsible,” Kindel said. “But we have not received any grants for our sewer system.”
According to Elliot, when Arnegard hired Advanced Engineering & Environmental Service, (AE2S) last year, the company claimed they would “put together a plan and apply for funding.” However, the city still has seen no incoming funds to help build up the sewer system during this time of need when the population is increasing so rapidly due to the oil boom.
Elliot said they hope to receive some grants in the near future to help fix up the Arnegard sewer facility.