Williston launches water treatment project for growing population

WILLISTON, N.D. -- A $105 million water treatment plant was heralded by Williston's mayor as a project that will allow the city to grow at an official groundbreaking Wednesday.

WILLISTON, N.D. -- A $105 million water treatment plant was heralded by Williston’s mayor as a project that will allow the city to grow at an official groundbreaking Wednesday.

Dave Tuan, director of Public Works, called the facility “one of the most technologically advanced treatment plants in the Midwest,” and said it would initially serve a population of about 60,000.  

Jason Benson, a project manager for Grand Forks-based Advanced Engineering and Environmental Services, Inc., said the 11-acre facility in western North Dakota would eventually be able to handle a population of 125,000.

“Ultimately that’s what we’re planning for,” he said.

Tuan said the facility “marks a major milestone,” as the city embarks on a two-year plus construction period, with a target completion date of September 2017.


Mayor Howard Klug said the state needs to ensure that cities like Williston have enough money to tackle infrastructure projects in response to the energy boom.

He cited the facility’s original estimate in the $50 million to $60 million range in 2012 has now spiraled to $105 million while the city waited until it had the financial resources.

A 12-foot-high dike will be built around the facility to protect it from potential flooding from the Missouri River, Klug said.

Benson said the dike will serve as a “second protection” in case the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers levee fails.

Officially called the Williston Water Resource Recovery Facility, Benson said it will be one of the first treatment plants in North Dakota to remove biological nutrients from wastewater, getting rid of nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen that can hurt water quality.

It will take about 24 hours for wastewater coming into the facility to go through a multi-step process where it’s treated and then released into the Missouri River, Benson said.

At the peak of construction, he said about 400 workers would be working onsite.

AE2S along with Minnesota-based Rice Lake Construction Group, Montana-based CEI Electrical Contractors and Montana-based Williams Plumbing and Heating are the project’s primary contractors.


“It’s an exciting day here in Williston. … This plant will serve Williston’s needs in the years to come. We won’t have to worry anymore. It’s a huge burden off the city,” said Klug.


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