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Wet conditions may delay contractors in resuming work on water project

By Staff | Mar 19, 2009

Construction will resume this spring on about a $11 million rural water system that will reach landowners in five counties, including some in southern Pierce County, but exactly when is still up in the air.

There is a lot of wet ground, and that may delay work, according to Darrell Hournbuckle, project engineer with Interstate Engineering of Bismarck.

The North Central Rural Water Consortium includes about 240 landowners in Pierce, Wells, Benson, Eddy, Sheridan and McHenry counties and the cities of Esmond and Anamoose.

The general contractor, Abbott-Arne- Schwindt, Inc., Moorhead, Minn., began the project late last fall, installing about 20 miles of pipe from the Maddock area to Esmond, according to Hournbuckle. However, some sections of pipe along the route could not be installed due to wet conditions. Some rerouting of pipe may have to be done, Hournbuckle said. That phase of the project is estimated to cost about $4.3 million.

Hournbuckle said plow trains and backhoes will start once field conditions are dry enough to support the heavy equipment. And that may be a while, especially if more precipitation comes in the meantime.

Bids will be opened this spring for the segment of the project that will branch out from the Esmond area, including west into southern Pierce County. Later this summer, bids will be opened for the portion of the project that will include the city of Anamoose, extending into parts of McHenry and Pierce counties.

The majority of construction will be completed this year, with some finishing work in 2010.

About 80 landowners in Pierce County will receive treated water through the system, Hournbuckle said. The water will be supplied through a branch of the Central Plains Water District, which has a water plant in Fessenden.

Funding the project is coming largely from USDA Rural Development and state Municipal Rural and Industrial (MR&I) loans and grants.

The local share of the project as well as maintenance costs will be paid by water users.

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