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Southwest Water finally coming to Rhame

The citizens of Rhame will likely get Southwest Water Authority service after all.

Rhame mayor Dennis Walser said Thursday he expects the City Council to approve a contract with the authority — complete with the necessary landowner easement agreements — during the council’s meeting on Monday.

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“From what I understand, all the landowners are going to let us in,” Walser said. “We don’t have all of the agreements signed and turned in yet, but we’ve gotten word that they’re going to agree. That’s really all I can say at this point.”

In July, Rhame residents voted 63-12 to receive Southwest Pipeline Project service, but an agreement between the city and SWA necessitated easement agreements from a number of landowners near Rhame, a process that hit a snag last fall when some of the landowners questioned their proposed agreements.

Conrad Soderstrom of Bowman, one of the landowners who has questioned the prospect of allowing the project to cut through land that he owns, said Thursday he has not made up his mind.

“I’m just taking it day by day,” Soderstrom said. “I’m waiting for them to clean up from some of the stuff they did in the past.”

The total cost of the project is expected to cost close to $350,000, with Bowman County picking up 80 percent of the tab with the remaining funds coming from grants secured by the Roosevelt Custer Regional Council.

A town with a population of about 170, Rhame’s city leaders said it has long dealt with water quality issues.

“We’re looking forward to being able to serve the city of Rhame, as well as the rural customers in the region,” Southwest Water CEO Mary Massad said. “We hope that everyone can reach an agreement so that we can get water to the people of Rhame now and for future generations.”

If all easements are received, Walser said construction could for the project could begin in the spring.

Bryan Horwath
A Wisconsin native, Horwath has been covering news in the Oil Patch of North Dakota since 2012. Horwath currently serves as the senior agriculture and political reporter for The Dickinson Press and, despite the team's tendency to always let him down, remains a diehard Minnesota Vikings fan.
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