New water line done, problems found with silt in system at river

By Staff, 07/21/20 10:20 AM

Water Superintendent Perry Nelson

PRESCOTT – There was good news and bad news concerning the water project with a new line from the Little Missouri River to the city and Firestone.

Perry Nelson, superintendent of the Prescott Water and Sewer Department, told the Prescott City Council, at its July meeting Monday night, the project itself is done. He gave a history of the project, saying it began in 2018 with all the plans and funding approved for the $3 million project which would replace the 16-inch iron pipe with PVC pipe and cover 34,500 feet from the river to Firestone and the city’s treatment plant.

Construction began in Jan. 2019 where the first problem occurred when a leak was found in the line under a creek. The construction company placed a live above the creek until a new one could be put underneath it once again, but an existing vault with an air relief valve was bumped into and resulted in a geyser spouting from the area affected. This, too, was replaced. Nelson pointed out ductile iron pipe was used under the creek as it’s more durable and holds up betterĀ  in adverse conditions.

The new line was completed and flushed in May 2019, but in October, a problem was found with the transfer line running from the river to the city’s treatment plant and Firestone. This line was also replaced. While work was being done on this, the old pipeline was being used to provide water to the city and Firestone. By May of this year, everything was in place and connections were made with the new pipe and the city’s system.

On May 27, though, another problem was discovered as sand was found to be getting into the pipe. Before anything could be done to correct the problem, the rains set in again. The city also had to get permission from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on what it could and couldn’t do. Nelson said the river is down and this problem should be fixed as soon as possible. The city’s electric department crews have been at the site removing trees along a 200-foot stretch.

The projected cost of fixing the problem, Nelson told the council is between, $100,000 and $125,000, but there are no grants available and this doesn’t qualify under the state’s revolving loan program.

The problem, he said, is the city can’t build anything in the river to prevent this from happening again, and the initial plan is a stop-gap measure until a more permanent solution can be found and funded. The money, he continued, would come from the city’s depreciation fund.

City Accountant Carl Dalrymple said there is currently $228,000 in this fund, adding the only other option would be to take money from the sale tax monies.