Last chance for Killdeer, other cities to get pipeline

KILLDEER -- The Southwest Water Authority is giving residents here one more chance to get connected to the Southwest Pipeline Project (SWPP). Connecting to the pipeline failed during a 2003 vote, but the SWA is setting a deadline of Sept. 1 to de...

KILLDEER -- The Southwest Water Authority is giving residents here one more chance to get connected to the Southwest Pipeline Project (SWPP).

Connecting to the pipeline failed during a 2003 vote, but the SWA is setting a deadline of Sept. 1 to decide for certain.

"This is their last chance," Assistant SWA Manager/CEO Mary Massad said. "Rural and city customers in Center, Hazen, Stanton, Pick City and Beulah in Oliver and Mercer counties are also included."

Killdeer City Auditor Dawn Marquardt said the special election vote by the city in 2003 wasn't even close 151-33 against the project. She said it seemed the cost of the water itself was the main concern.

"The city has its own aquifer with a water treatment plant to take care of it," Marquardt said. "As far as I know, the city council has not discussed having another vote, although I know they were approached once about the pipeline. I haven't seen a lot of interest within the city, but maybe there is in the rural areas."


Killdeer City Council President Dan Dolecheck also doesn't know of anymore interest on the council in seeking the pipeline for the city.

Killdeer is the only place remaining in Dunn County without the pipeline, as Halliday, Dodge and Dunn Center are connected, said Dunn County Auditor Reinhard Hauck.

If a city is interested in connecting to the pipeline, it is charged a one-time membership fee of $0.50 per capita, based on the 2000 census. The next step is to select the service and flow methods, which determine water rates for the municipality, a recent SWA press release stated.

Rates don't reflect the amount individual households or businesses may be billed. A city must recoup the cost of the water and the distribution/maintenance costs within the city and bills individual residents, SWA Manager/CEO Ray Christensen stated in the release.

The SWA has seen most cities with the SWPP add $1 to $2 per 1,000 gallons to the bulk service water rate by the pipeline. Cost savings for eliminating water softeners, fewer repairs or replacing water fixtures are not included.

"The SWA board members have worked very hard to provide service options that fit each community's unique needs," Christensen stated in the release. "Cities should start by evaluating their own infrastructure and determining which service options or contracts fit their unique needs."

The options

The SWA offers two methods of water service for municipalities.


The sole source contract is when the SWPP is the lone provider of treated water to a city delivering to a central location. The city is responsible for distributing the water to residents and billing individuals for their water usage.

"Cities with this option should inventory their current water infrastructure to determine if current water reservoirs, whether above or below ground, are adequate. If deemed sufficient, the city can receive 'constant flow' service at the current rate of $3.07 per 1,000 gallons," stated the release. "The SWPP water is pumped into existing storage facilities and is then delivered by gravity in most cases by the city to meet residential water needs. Most cities use constant flow service."

The other option is called a minimum annual purchase contract, which sees a municipality purchase a pre-determined amount of water from the SWPP to be blended with the city's current source to meet residential demand. Blended rates can vary, but normally are a 50-50 blend, stated the press release.

"It is interesting to note that each of the cities that initially opted for the minimum annual purchase method have since converted to sole source," Massad said in the release. "Upon review of cost savings to blend, all cities to date that have blended water have chosen to convert to sole source for a number of reasons, but cite quality of water as the main reason."

If a city does not have water storage, or does not wish to use its storage, demand flow can be provided at $4.05 per 1,000 gallons, she added.

"Essentially, demand flow bypasses a city's reservoir system and flows directly into the city's distribution system, eliminating the need for a city's storage facilities," said Massad. "This is generally a consideration by a small community of population 300 or less and if their water storage facilities are in poor physical condition."

Killdeer and others may not be included in the future once the SWPP system is established in the area. Later connection is dependent upon funding, capacity and hydraulics, Christensen said. System engineers would have to determine current customers wouldn't be adversely affected by low pressure or a diminished system capacity, stated the press release.

Public information meetings for rural residents to discuss rates and contracts are to be done in September.

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