WAWS Distributor Doubling Production - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

WAWS Distributor Doubling Production

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The Western Area Water Supply Project serves more than 27,000 people in parts of five Western North Dakota counties.

According to WAWS Authority officials, the project anticipates serving upwards of 100,000 people in the next 20 years.

As Jennifer Thorgramson tells us, the water treatment plant in Williston is expanding in order to quench the demand.

Economic expansion is a weight upheld by the Highway 85 bridge near Williston, but it's the activity beneath the bridge that keeps Williston Water Treatment Plant construction flowing at full force.

Currently, the plant produces 10 to 11 million gallons of water per day --- about half is for domestic distribution while the other half is sold in the thirsty oil fields.

That number will be up to 14 million by April, and in 2015, today's numbers will be doubled producing up to 21 million gallons of treated water every day.


Dr. Delvin DeBoer spent the summer in Williston as the interim superintendent of the plant.

He spent several sleepless nights at the plant during a turbulent spring.

(Dr. Delvin DeBoer, AE2S Special Projects Engineer) "The water treatment facility is more at the headwaters of the Missouri River than other facilities located downstream, such as Bismarck. So we don't have the privilege of taking the water from a reservoir, we take the water from the river and a result of that is that we have turbidity spikes."

A turbidity spike double the highest the plant had on record, which caused operators to call for a week of water conservation.

Turbidity is sediment.

Chemicals and a fine sand are used to clump the Missouri River mud together.

Additional turbidity treatment tanks are included in the construction due to be complete in April.

The water then moves to the softening process where lime is used in the center to remove the hardness from the water.

(Dr. Delvin DeBoer, AE2S Special Projects Engineer) "A customer that uses hard water will notice that a bar soap doesn't lather quite as well. It also will encrust pipes. It's not a primary drinking water standard where it will have an impact on people's health, it's more of an aesthetic problem that causes difficulty with the water use."

The second construction phase to be complete in 2015 will add a third softening tank.

The water then moves through a filtration system where the black anthracite coal can be seen in the bottom of the tanks.

Finally, the water flows through the ultra violet system for disinfection.


Dr. DeBoer says the regional treatment plant is not unique --- surrounding states also use systems that distribute to a large area.

However, he says the operators here are anxious to serve the growing demand, bridging the gap between small town water treatment and the regional boom of the Bakken.

In Williston, Jennifer Thorgramson, KX News.

A new plant superintendent arrived the first of November.

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