The Beacon News
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City receives $4 million for water treatment plant
By Kate Johnson
Beulah has been in the works to switching from a lime-softening water treatment plant to a membrane system, which is a reverse osmosis water treatment plant. The reason behind the switch, to be put simply, it is time. The current water treatment facility is in need of a complete overhaul. By upgrading the plant to reverse osmosis, this allows the city newer and more up-to-date technology.
This process has been lengthy and an uphill battle trying to be achieve state grants. Beulah was awarded with State Water Supply Program Funding, gifting the city $2.6 million. The city has also been released $1.4 million in surge money, which Mayor Darrell Bjerke said is required to be spent on the plant.
This new water treatment facility costs a total of $5.8 million. The city will be receiving $2.6 in grant funds and $1.4 million in surge totaling $4 million in state funds, leaving the city to borrow $1.8 million from the State of North Dakota revolving fund. This was approved as a low interest loan at 1.5 percent.
“This has been quite a process over the last year and half because we weren’t eligible,” says Bjerke.
In 1962 the first full-service water treatment plant was built. According to Bjerke, the Beulah city council at the time was very far-sighted and gained public opinion, which then led to the citizens of Beulah building the first water treatment plant. As growth occurred over the years, the city had to add on to the facility, increasing their units to handle 6,000 people.
These grants are available to growing cities, leading these applications to be difficult for the city as its growth wasn’t dramatic, which led to Beulah being ineligible. The governor put together a committee hoping to gain insight into these towns and their needs for these facilities. Through those meetings the policy was changed and the growth portion of the equation was extracted – making Beulah eligible. The Department of Commerce is kicking in money to help with funding Beulah’s project as well as others.