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Construction underway on city’s new $20 million wastewater treatment facility

Posted 2/24/15 (Tue)

By Amy Robinson
Farmer Staff Writer

Back in the fall of 2013, Watford City was in the process of doing something it may have never considered before the city’s population had tripled. It began the process of building a new $20 million wastewater treatment plant.
With a go-ahead from both the state and the State Health Department, the city was issued a Continuous Discharge Permit, which would allow the city to build a facility and discharge the treated wastewater into Cherry Creek. The city expected the plant to be operational by the fall of 2015.
“We are still on schedule to be complete and operational by fall 2015,” said Justin Smith, Watford City Public Works superintendent. “This will conclude the first phase of the new mechanical wastewater treatment plant. The second phase is in the design stages right now.”
According to Smith, phase two has been authorized to solicit for construction manager proposals. Phase two will double that of phase one to treat a population of over 15,000 people. And phase two will start immediately after phase one is complete - which is an expansion of the existing facility, and it will be due to come on line in the fall of 2016.
“The treatment plan in phase one will have a capacity that will serve the existing population,” said Smith. “It will replace the current treatment system. The design capacity is reported to be able to treat a population of around 7,500.”
While the first two phases of the wastewater treatment plant is designed for a population of 15,000, Smith says the city is also looking at a new facility to serve the southern portion of Watford City.
According to Smith, the site will be located somewhere on the south side of town but the sizing of it has not been determined quite yet. And it will all depend on what happens for growth in that part of town.
The biggest hold-up for the project, according to Smith, is the financing piece.
“It’s all up in the air with the Surge funding and the state legislation approving increasing the split in gross production taxes to 60 percent for local government,” said Curtis Moen, Watford City planner and zoning administrator. “With building slowing down a bit, timing is in the air. It’s a very demand-driven project, so it’s based on the demand.”