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Rhame 1 step closer to Southwest Water

Rhame’s city auditor still fully expects her community to receive Southwest Pipeline Project water service, but an agreement won’t be official until next month at the earliest.

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The topic of a contract between Southwest Water Authority contractor Bartlett & West and Rhame was discussed during Monday night’s City Council meeting, though the agreement was not signed because some landowner easements for the project remained outstanding.

City auditor Margie Russ said the remaining landowners whose easements are needed for the project to proceed are all expected to agree to terms.

“We went through each landowner that we need to get easements on and, right now, everyone is a yes,” Russ said. “We just needed to make a few changes. Bob Keller from Barlett & West is going to be out probably later this week because he’s made changes to the easements to get the remaining property owners to sign them.”

Russ said an additional signed easement was presented at

Monday’s meeting, leaving five outstanding easement agreements that would need to be signed before the pipeline connection project could begin.

In July, Rhame residents vote 63-12 in favor of receiving Southwest Pipeline Project water service. If all easements are received by the city as expected, a 3-mile pipeline will be constructed to connect Rhame with Southwest water.

The total cost of the project is expected to be close to $350,000, with Bowman County paying for 80 percent of it with remaining grant funds. Rhame, with a population of about 170, has long had to deal with water quality issues, according to city leaders.

“One of the landowners just wants us to mark out the path where the pipeline will be,” Russ said. “Another (landowner) wanted something worded differently in the contract. Bartlett & West should be getting all those corrections done.”

Dennis Walser, Rhame’s mayor, said earlier this month that he hoped to have the final contract for the project completed at Monday’s meeting. Russ said the city hopes to have all easements signed in time for the next scheduled City Council meeting Feb. 10.

A phone message left Tuesday for Keller was not immediately returned. In October, Bartlett & West project manager Jim Lennington said the issues discussed between landowners, the city of Rhame and his firm are not uncommon with regard to the Southwest Pipeline Project, which transports and treats raw water from Lake Sakakawea to Dickinson, where it is delivered to customers in southwest North Dakota and Perkins County in South Dakota.

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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