October 4, 2012

City examines water woes

City examines water woes
By Jerry W. Kram
The City of New Town invested in a new water treatment plant five years ago that serves both the city and the Fort Berthold Rural Water System Sanish tower.
Despite a longstanding manpower shortage, the plant has making plenty of drinkable water for the two systems. At least it was until the water level in the Sanish tower started dropping precipitously about six weeks ago. At one point, the water level in the tower, which was usually held at about 18 feet, dropped to less than three feet.
Mark Fox represented the tribal rural water system in a meeting with the New Town City Council and city coordinator Daryl Lyson on Monday. Lyson said part of the problem was that the rural water system had gone almost overnight from using about 10,000 gallons a day to using nearly 200,000 gallons a day. It turns out the rural water system has started selling industrial water to the oil industry from its allocation from the water plant.
Fox reminded the council that the tribe had paid for a quarter of the water plant and was entitled by contract to one quarter of its production. When the plant is operating 24/7, it can produce 900 gallons a minute or nearly 1,300,000 gallons a day. Fox said the tribe had paid for 225 gallons a minute or 324,000 gallons of water a day.

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