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Funds for water project move through the pipeline

A bill to designate $9 million for the Southwest Water Authority is making its way through the Senate, and Thursday cleared another hurdle as subcommittee members approved it.

A part of the Energy and Water Appropriations bill, the money is slated for SWA pipeline expansion into Oliver, Mercer and northern Dunn counties as well as to help ccomplete the main transmission lines to serve Hazen, Stanton and Zap, according to a press release from Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D.

Mary Massad, SWA manager and chief executive officer, said it's likely those who will hook onto the waterline have used well water in the past.

"Everybody that I know that is hooked up to the pipeline is happy that they did. I don't know anyone that is unsatisfied to date," said Rick Olson, Sentinel Butte mayor.

About $8 million was given to the authority this year as well as $12 million from the federal stimulus package.

"I think our current funding will be adequate for current construction," Massad said.

Massad said the project is coming along well, with construction wrapping up in the Medora and Beach service area.

"When that's complete we'll be adding about 500 customers through about 500 miles of pipeline," Massad said. "That $12 million in that stimulus funding that we're receiving will be used for the construction of the water treatment plant."

Construction on the main transmission line is expected to begin this year, she added.

The bill now goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.