Valley City Public Works released its Annual Drinking Water Quality Report this month, which studied the city’s drinking water from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 in 2011.
“I’m pleased to announce that our drinking water is safe and meets federal and state requirements,” water treatment plant manager Wade Hesch said in the report.
The North Dakota Department of Health has found that Valley City’s drinking water is susceptible to potential contaminants, but claimed the sources of that contamination “are no longer identifiable.”
The State Water Commission funded $15.4 million to upgrade the city’s water treatment plant, and with stimulus money, loans and a slight rate hike, the total amount of the project will be $20.8 million. Valley City water customers are paying a little extra on their bills now to repay a $2 million, 20-year loan.
The reason for the building the new water treatment plant was to accommodate low-quality water that will be drained from Devils Lake into the Sheyenne River. The SWC raised the maximum allowable amount of sulfates in the river to make up for the high-sulfate drainage that will come from the swollen lake to the north, which, since 1993, has claimed several thousand acres of farmland, residential property and cemeteries.
The multi-million dollar outlet that was recently completed on the east end of Devils Lake was scheduled to be operational this summer. However, a hearing among local activists and state engineer Todd Sando was held in Bismarck last week, and Sando has until Monday, July 23, to officially sanction the operation. The representatives of groups concerned about the new Devils Lake outlet claim the state did not follow North Dakota Century Code in the fast-tracking of the outlet.