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New Taylor water tower slated to be operational this week

Rural residents who have been waiting for years to have access to Southwest Water will soon be able to connect.

Taylor tower
The elevated tank in Taylor is expected to be operational this week.
Contributed / ND Department of Water Resources
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TAYLOR, N.D. — An elevated potable water storage tank is expected to become operational this week, impacting residents in and around the city. The project, which includes upgrades to the main transmission pipeline, is a part of the Southwest Pipeline Project.

“We are a rural water system,” Jen Murray, Manager and CEO of Southwest Water Authority, said. “We do provide bulk service to cities like Taylor. They were already on our water service prior to this tank going up, but there's lots of rural customers like farms, ranches and that sort of thing that didn't have a connection to Southwest Water Authority. So by adding this tank, we're able to actually connect them now because we have the capacity available.”

Many rural residents in the area currently rely on well water in their homes, she said. Some near Taylor have been on a waiting list for Southwest Water since 2016. The water tower provides the capacity for over 100 new connections, with 63 already signed up through the SWA.

“We actually have it filled right now,” Murray said of the water tower. “There's a couple of things that need to get done, such as our testing with the Department of Health to make sure that the water and everything is all good, but it should be operational within the week. I don't know if anybody's going to be able to connect yet because of the weather. But we did give people a heads up – for those people that had committed to connecting after it was done – that it would be done soon.”

Taylor Mayor Emory Vaagen said the project will provide better water pressure to residents and require less maintenance than the city’s current system.

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"We have a cistern that we pump water throughout the city with now,” Vaagen said.

He added the water tower will eliminate the city’s reliance on electric pumps to get water to the community. The project will eventually allow the city to use fire hydrants which are not currently functional.

“We need to improve our water system to utilize the hydrants,” Vaagen said. “The city of Taylor purchased an additional 50,000 gallon capacity for the tower with the intent of eventually replacing our water mains, being able to provide fire flow to the community, which will hopefully, at that point, lower our fire rating so that we can have lower fire insurance costs.”

The city funded much of the project with oil impact money from previous years that was earmarked for infrastructure improvements, Vaagen said. He is unsure when the city will be able to replace the water mains.

“We're hoping that we can get tied into the tower right now for the community soon, but that won't provide the fire flow yet,” Vaagen said. “So even if it takes us, you know, another 10 years to get through all the funding mechanisms that it takes to come up with a big project like that, at least we've purchased the ability to tie into it.”

He emphasized his excitement for the project.

“I just want to thank Southwest Water, the State Water Commission, the Governor and everybody else who really helped make this come to fruition for the City of Taylor,” Vaagen said. “I'm certain that the rural customers north and south of Taylor are going to be super happy that they're going to have the ability to hook onto the water.”

According to a press release from the North Dakota Department of Water Resources, the City of Taylor paid $148,000 toward the construction cost of the tank, which totaled $1.95 million. The water tower was designed by Bartlett & West/AECOM and constructed by Maguire Iron, Inc. It has a 400,000 gallon capacity and is 155 feet high. It will provide 350,000 gallons of storage for regional service and 50,000 gallons for Taylor.

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Sindhuja S.Pillai-Grinolds, North Dakota Department of Water Resources water development division director, said the project was bid in May of 2021.

“The commission authorized the award in June of 2021,” S.Pillai-Grinolds said. “Construction itself began in August of 2021.”

In October, construction of a main transmission parallel pipeline contract was also completed, according to the release. It supplies more water to areas northeast, south and west of Dickinson and will allow more connections in the future. There are currently 700 people on a waiting list to receive SWPP water throughout the system.

“Part of the vision of the DWR is to sustainably manage and develop the state’s water resources for the health, safety and prosperity of its people,” DWR Director Andrea Travnicek stated in the press release. “We’re proud to continue providing clean and sustainable Southwest Pipeline Project water to the city of Taylor, and to support future projects that continue to improve Southwest Pipeline Project’s capacity and the ability to add new customers throughout the system.”

water tower
Construction on a water tower in Taylor began over a year ago.
Contributed / ND Department of Water Resources

Ashley Koffler is a Killdeer, North Dakota native and Dickinson State University graduate, with a Bachelor’s Degree in writing, and minors in journalism and psychology. Formerly working in Community Affairs for Roosevelt Custer Regional Council for Development, her reporting focuses on Stark County and other rural municipality governments, community features, business and agriculture — among others.
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