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City of Belfield addresses water tower issue; awaits inspection before refilling

“I think it’s getting quite drawn out because it’s three weeks now... My customers are not happy. We don’t have any return motel customers. One night without a shower is long enough," Harold Hugelen said, owner of Trapper’s Kettle in Belfield, North Dakota.

The water tower in Belfield, North Dakota, is pictured.
The water tower in Belfield, North Dakota, is pictured.
Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press
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BELFIELD, N.D. — In mid-June, the City of Belfield was forced to empty its water tower after a leak caused issues. Though the leak repair has been made, it has been weeks since residents have had consistent water pressure in the town. Some are questioning when the water tower will be refilled and water pressure restored.

During its regularly scheduled monthly meeting, the Belfield City Council met Tuesday at City Hall, discussing a wide range of topics, including the water tower that is currently waiting an inspection before it can be refilled.

Councilman Ed Braun noted that the ground underneath the water tower is saturated and it’s an area of concern.

“... The reason some of this was drawn out is so that some of this water could be absorbed and dry out,” Braun said, explaining, “So when they cut the pipe that is leaking between the two valves, water literally run(s) out the pipe — not from inside of the pipe. You could look down and see it was coming in the crack of the pipe. So if we fill that tower and then that line goes down 9 feet and the base only goes down 11 feet and if our foundation is saturated, and we pull all that weight in that tower and that tower starts ticking, we’re going to have bigger problems.”

Braun noted that the crew working on repairing the water tower tried hammering out part of the floor and were unsuccessful.

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“The concrete is very hard. It’s very thick. Also, the drawing showed that the pipe is encased in concrete. So they did a low diagram and pulled a 2-inch pipe through the 6-inch pipe that’s leaking. And with engineering, they calculated that the 2-inch pipe will flow more than 150 gallons a minute that Southwest Water has agreed to supply the city. So it was going to be over $100,000 to hammer off this concrete and whatnot,” Braun said, adding that the repairs have cost $6,000 thus far.

One resident Harold Hugelen, owner of Trapper’s Kettle in Belfield, expressed his concerns to the council.

“... The water I’m getting at my house is about it’ll run through a straw. That’s about the top amount of water I can get. It takes over a minute to get a gallon and you can’t fight a fire with a gallon a minute of water,” he said.

Councilman Ed Braun listens during the Belfield City Council meeting on Tuesday, July 12, 2022, at City Hall.
Councilman Ed Braun listens during the Belfield City Council meeting on Tuesday, July 12, 2022, at City Hall.
Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press

Braun said that they’re trying to get an inspector to come out this week and make determinations if they have to make more repairs to the water tower or if they can go ahead and fill it.

“I think it’s getting quite drawn out because it’s three weeks now,” Hugelen said, adding, “... My customers are not happy. We don’t have any return motel customers. One night without a shower is long enough.”

Braun added that they have talked about bringing the older water tower back into service, which is located on the south side of town, but he noted that “it’s not practical.”

“It’s been empty and rusty… We haven’t really talked about bringing anything in portable that we could do anything with yet. So I think it’s more about this. I feel your pain. I understand,” he said, adding, “My water pressure’s better at my house, but not a lot. I probably got two or three straws, but… I don’t want to jump the gun on this and cause more problems.”

With the Fourth of July weekend, Braun noted that there was a delay in getting an inspector to make sure the water tower is fully operational before filling it.

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READ MORE BY JACKIE JAHFETSON
“There’s a little bit of something for everyone. You come with your family, your kids can find something, the moms can find something, the dads can find something,” Jessica Quandt, owner of JQ Clothing, said.

Related Topics: DICKINSONBELFIELD CITY COUNCILGOVERNMENT AND POLITICSINFRASTRUCTURE
Jackie Jahfetson is a former reporter for The Dickinson Press.
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