Please read this article with the previously published information in the March 16 issue of the Cavalier County Republican.
Posted on 4/4/15
By Melissa Anderson
The Langdon City Commission held their public meeting on the proposed water project to a great turnout of almost 100 people.
At this time the Langdon City Commissioners have decided to not put the decision of the water project to a city wide vote. As of press time the city commissioners will be making this decision based on public input.
The meeting had presentations from the engineering firms employed by the City of Langdon and Northeast Regional Water District (NRWD).
Moore Engineering, which is the municipal engineering firm for the City of Langdon, works on multiple types of engineering projects.
“Moore Engineering has been providing civil engineering and land surveying services to the region for more than 50 years. We are the city engineer for over 100 communities in North Dakota and Minnesota, with dedicated expertise in water supply and treatment projects. Our engineers have performed similar projects in Harvey, Oakes, Forman, Fargo (effluent reuse), Enderlin and Mayville, to name a few” Gregory Wald, Communications Manager at Moore Engineering stated.
Advanced Engineering (AE), which is used by NRWD for their water engineering needs, has an extensive background in water projects similar to the proposed projects that are under discussion by the city commission.
“Our primary service is water. Meaning water, wastewater, and water resources system consulting, which represents over 70 percent of our annual revenues. Within these primary services, we offer a total solution by providing master planning, capital improvement planning, study and report, design, bidding administration, and construction administration and observation” Calvin Thelen the Rural Water Group Manager at Advanced Engineering stated.
The two entities covered a vast amount of information in their less than 30 minute presentations.
The comparison of the treated water from the City of Devils Lake WTP and the proposed plant would be similar in composition and taste according to the representatives who spoke and fielded questions. The main difference between the two is the effort put forth at the raw water stage to make the two waters similar.
Moore Engineering focused their presentation on the Munich Aquifer and the building of a state of the art water treatment plant (WTP) presented the costs for the project based on a 75 percent grant.
The State Water Commission had their budget for water projects such as the two proposed at the meeting cut nearly in half recently to approximately $500 million. The State Legislature has yet to give a final budget amount for the two year budget period for the state. The significant decrease is due to the drop in international oil prices triggering revisions to the state budget.
The preliminary estimated cost for this specific project is $16 million which covers the cost of building the new WTP, the wellfield, and concentrate disposal ponds.
“This option is a viable option to provide the City [with] adequate quantity and quality of water” Steve Ahlschlager, the Senior Technical Advisor for this project at Moore Engineering stated.
The breakdown of costs for the proposed water treatment plant being at the Munich Aquifer well field with a cost of $7.5 million to drill more wells and construct a pipeline to bring the water into the City of Langdon to be treated.
The proposed WTP would cost roughly $7 million to construct and while a final design has not been approved, Moore Engineering states that “engineering practice generally says concrete structures are projected to last 50-70 years, while most of the treatment components typically last 25-40 years”.
“The replaceable membrane modules discussed at the meeting are normally projected to have a five year life. Their life is a function of feed water source, pretreatment, frequency of cleaning, system design and operating conditions. Please note the modules are only one piece of the overall membrane softening subsystem of the WTP. Other pieces include structural supports, piping, valves, instrumentation, pumps, filters and pressure vessels” Wald stated.
“The preliminary design and cost estimates to this point have been based on City of Langdon/NRWD proposed finished water quality. The project is still in preliminary design stages, so the precise sequence we will use to achieve the desired water quality is unknown at this time” Wald stated.
The construction of a concentration pond will also be necessary with this proposed WTP at a cost of $1.5 million. The cost for the disposal of the concentrate biannually is unknown at this time. Please refer to March 16 issue for more information.
Water Treatment Plant
• The city owns the facility and equipment.
• The city controls the rate increases.
• The city controls the quality of water
• The residents will only pay for the water treated.
• Will maintain jobs and tax dollars within the City of Langdon.
• The city must continue to operate a Water Treatment Plant
• The staff must be trained on the operation and maintenance of the new equipment.
Northeast Regional Water District
NRWD will be moving forward with their project seeking the City of Devils Lake Water supply for their customers regardless of the decision made by the Langdon City Commissioners.
Gordon Johnson, the NRWD Manager, presented for NRWD why they feel the residents of Langdon would benefit more from joining NRWD in getting water from the City of Devils Lake.
The preliminary estimated cost for this specific project is roughly $24 million dollars with the addition of Langdon to the already slated project, the cost of which being split between NRWD and the City of Langdon for a total cost to each party being around $12 million dollars.
Johnson explained that if the two were to join and make the project a regional project the chances of gaining grant funding from the ND State Water Commission were much more favorable.
“The chance is better as a regional project to get a 75 percent grant from the State Water Commission with at least 45 percent grant funding very likely if the funding is available” Johnson stated.
According to Johnson there are three sources available for projects such as these that are being proposed state, federal, and the grants that are available from the USDA Advanced Rural Development fund.
Johnson had several reasons for the audience to consider in regards to the Devils Lake option. The important reason relating to costs were that with a regional approach to a long term water supply the operational, maintenance, and replacement costs would be spread out among almost 18,000 people.
The Devils Lake raw water quality is much easier to treat and with routine maintenance the Devils Lake WTP will have increased longevity due to the quality of the raw water. The raw water treated at Devils Lake WTP only requires greensand filtration to remove iron and manganese from the water, common minerals found in ground water.
The Devils Lake WTP does not utilize membrane technology as result of the quality of the raw water that is used unlike that of the proposed WTP for the City of Langdon which would be needed to treat the raw water from Munich Aquifer in order for the treated water to be comparable to the that of Devils Lake.
NRWD in conjunction with the City of Devils Lake WTP would be able to provide an ample supply of up to 1,250 gallons per minute throughout Cavalier County with 450 gallons per minute currently unallocated and ready for use in Langdon.
Johnson addressed the most common questions posed to NRWD about the Devils Lake project of the chance that this project would take tax dollars and jobs out of the Langdon community.
According to Johnson, 60 percent of the City of Devils Lake Water supply project is actually located within Cavalier County. NRWD currently serves nine other communities that once had WTPs.
“To the best of our knowledge in all nine cases not one job was cut, in those [specific] communities, due to the loss of their WTP” Johnson stated.
NRWD will be moving forward with seeking the City of Devils Lake Water supply for their customers regardless of the decision made by the Langdon City Commissioners.
NRWD/Devils Lake Water Connection
• Lower capital costs of $12 million each.
• Regionalization of over 18,000 people which creates a larger population over which to spread the operation, maintenance and replacement costs.
• It is easier and cheaper to treat the City of Devils Lake well water.
• There are very little unknowns associated with this project as the City of Devils Lake water treatment process is known.
• Iron and manganese removal at the Devils Lake WTP is very basic and creates a high quality water.
• Low volatility with capital and operational and maintenance costs.
• Ability to obtain a two source finished water supply to the region of up to 1,250 gallons per minute to all of Cavalier County.
• City of Langdon’s fear of the loss of identity with the loss of control over water treatment.
Johnson pointed out at the end of his presentation that should the Langdon City Commissioners choose the City of Devils Lake water supply that according to North Dakota Century Code 40-33-16 the purchase agreement for water cannot be more than 40 years and must be done by an ordinance submitted to the voters and approved by a simple majority.
To contact Langdon City Hall to voice your opinion on the options presented here please contact them at:
Langdon City Hall
324 8th Ave.
Langdon, ND 58249
By phone: 701-256-2155
or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org