May 27, 2009

County receives $4.8 million in stimulus funds for rural water project

By Tina Foreman
Farmer Staff Writer

Even though North Dakota has faired pretty well during this time of economic struggle, the state is still receiving some economic stimulus money that will have a big impact on McKenzie County .
United States Senator Byron Dorgan, has announced $4.855 million that he secured from the Corps of Engineer Stimulus funding to help bring potable water to McKenzie County.
“We’ve been applying for this funding for the past five years,” says Denton Zubke, Water Resource District chairman. “The difference this year is credited to Jaret Wirtz and Gene Veeder. They traveled to Washington D.C. and both were able to promote our project one-on-one with members of Dorgan’s staff. I think that made all the difference and secured our funding.”
As Chairman of the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, Dorgan worked with the United States Corps of Engineers to secure this funding for the McKenzie County Rural Water District through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
“We are very thankful to Dorgan for his help in securing this funding. The funds will take care of most of the project in eastern McKenzie County, but not all of it,” says Jaret Wirtz, McKenzie County Water Resources District manager. “This funding will cover 80 percent of the project and we are in the process of securing funding for the remaining 20 percent to complete the project.”
Funding secured by Dorgan will help complete the water project in eastern McKenzie County which currently has 140 residents and 10 businesses signed up, with more being added every day, according to Wirtz.
“We hope to bid the project in late summer and start construction in the fall,” adds Wirtz. “I will be sending out information about the project for all residents and businesses within the project area so they can decide whether they want to sign up or not.”
The money will be used to help dramatically expand connections for water service in an area that has poor quality and poor quantity of water.
“These water infrastructure improvements are an investment in the future of our state, and I was happy to work with the Army Corp of Engineers to secure this funding,” says Dorgan. “These improvements are good news for McKenzie County, as they will help support and further population growth and energy development. Also, construction of these projects will create good-paying jobs in the area.”
In total the state of North Dakota received $18.3 million as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 for water projects.
“There have been a lot of players involved in making this happen over the last eight years. It’s been a long time coming,” says Zubke. “It’s like making soup. You need water, carrots, celery and potatoes, but once you get it altogether everything is great.”
For more information or to sign up for the water project, Wirtz can be reached at 701-444-3452 ext. 114.