Pipe in the Ground

Pipe in the Ground Workers were busy this summer installing large water pipelines from the area of Mulberry Point north toward the future site of the water treatment plant that will be constructed in Clay County for the Lewis and Clark Water System. by David Lias It likely will be some time before water is flowing through them, but workers have made progress in laying a large pipeline that essentially marks the beginning of the Lewis & Clark water system.

"The work is progressing on schedule for the first segment of the raw water pipeline," said Troy Larson, executive director of the water system. "The raw water pipeline is the term we use to describe the line that's going to from the well fields at Mulberry Point up to the treatment plant, which will be located three miles north of Vermillion."

The raw water pipeline is divided into three segments. Construction of the first segment, which began at Mulberry Point, began last June.

The pipe, now buried in deep trenches, was shipped to Clay County on 18 railcars from a factory in South Carolina to Vermillion.

"This was a $1.8 million contract," Larson said. "Segments two and three combined are estimated to be about $15 million."

Contracts for that work was awarded in late July.

"The biggest pipe in this first segment is 48 inches in diameter," he said. "In segments two and three of the raw water pipeline, we'll be using 54 inch pipe, which is the biggest pipe we will use in the whole project."

When segments two and three are completed, there will be approximately seven miles of 54 inch diameter pipe buried in Clay County, from the Frost Game Production Area to the water treatment plant site.

"The U.S. House of Representatives did approve $17.5 million for the project in fiscal year 2005 that matches the president's budget request," Larson said. "What we've been saying is that is a good start, and puts in a much better position than last year, but we still have a ways to go."

The water system needs $35 million annually to stay on schedule, he said. "We're hoping that the Senate will be able to improve on that number � everybody has been telling us that $17.5 million is the floor, it can't go any lower, but we're hoping the funding will be at higher level."

In the next year, work should be complete on the Mid Dakota water project in the state. Larson is hoping that some of the funds allocated in past federal budgets for that project will be redirected to the Lewis & Clark project in the future.

Contracts will be awarded soon for the project's first segment of treated water pipeline.

"Instead of going from the treatment plant north, we're heading from Sioux Falls south, because there is so much development around Sioux Falls, we need to get that pipe in the ground as soon as possible."

Preliminary design of the $50 million water treatment plant has already begun. Construction is anticipated to start

in 2008, and take two years to complete.

The plant will have the ability to treat 30 million gallons of water daily. "We're building it with the ability to expand 50 percent down the road if we need additional water."

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