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Communities look at carbon dioxide storage for water treatment

Jill Schramm/MDN Geese hang out in a deadloop in Roosevelt Park Monday. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has approved the City of Minot’s request for funding assistance on a study of water quality issues in the dead loops in Minot. The first phase will be a meeting to discuss the history and issues associated with the dead loops. The second phase will be a workshop at which the Corps presents its findings and potential projects to make improvements to the dead loops. The study is estimated to cost $48,320, and the Corps will provide a 50% cost share, with the city and possibly the Souris River Joint Board covering the remainder.

Area communities are looking at partnering to develop a regional storage facility for carbon dioxide used in water treatment.

The Minot City Council voted Monday to authorize staff to work with other western North Dakota water systems to seek funding and construction of a facility.

Food-grade carbon dioxide is a pH stabilizer required to produce drinking water, according to the city. Over the years, Minot’s carbon dioxide has been supplied by various vendors who obtained product from ethanol plants in South Dakota.

In the past few years, there has been only one vendor interested in supplying the Minot Water Treatment Plant. Dakota Gasification near Beulah constructed a food-grade carbon dioxide facility in Beulah from which the vendor can obtain supplies, but during maintenance outages or facility malfunctions, the vendor can’t readily get carbon dioxide and has had to bring supply from Wyoming at double the cost, Utilities Director Jason Sorenson informed the council in a memo.

Outages generally have been occurring during peak production at the water plant and have led to water restrictions, he added. The issue affects a number of other facilities, including those in Bismarck, Mandan, Jamestown, the Southwest Water Authority and Western Area Water Supply/Williston.

The City of Bismarck is investigating the possibility of a regional storage facility. The shared facility would be located at the Bismarck Water Treatment Plant. During times of carbon dioxide shortage, each system would work with its vendor to have loads hauled from the reserves at the storage facility.

The City of Minot could construct its own storage facility as part of a future project at the water treatment plant, which likely would not occur for a few years, Sorenson wrote. That option also would be at a higher cost than a joint facility.

City adopts telework policy

Some City of Minot employees may soon have the ability to work remotely.

The Minot City Council voted Monday to approve a telework policy that it hopes will improve recruitment and possibly improve services provided by the employees.

The detailed policy document states telework is an option for consideration and not an entitlement. Interested employees would submit a telework application, and a decision would be made by the employee’s supervisor, department head and Human Resources director. Approval of the city manager would be required for any employee regularly teleworking 80% of scheduled hours and farther than 100 miles away.

– Jill Schramm

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