Don’t believe Mr. Hale

Duane Brekke, Minot

This letter is in response the Robert Hale’s letter to the editor in June of 2021.

The NAWS Project has been in the works for decades, however, the actual work started in 2002. Once started, the project was sued by Manitoba. That lawsuit went on for 15 years.

The legal challenges mentioned, besides the Manitoba lawsuit, were brought on by Mr. Hale. One side of this lawsuit was for the actual construction. The other side was the financing. The construction part was won by the City of Minot. The finance part was won by Mr. Hale.

The hundreds of miles of pipe not being used is completely false. Currently there is about 39 miles of pipeline south of Minot not being used. The many miles of pipeline constructed to the west and north of Minot are all being fed to Burlington, Berthold, Kenmare, Mohall, and Antler. The pipeline constructed to feed the communities was used almost immediately once completed.

More pipeline was constructed to the north of Minot to feed the Minot Air Force Base and on to Glenburn, then north to Highway #5. The pipeline continues east to Westhope and is currently being constructed to Bottineau. Once to Bottineau, the pipeline will be used to feed that community.

So, hundreds of miles of pipeline constructed and near completion with almost all of it being used. The pipeline south of Minot not being used, will of course be checked to see that there are no leaks when the treatment plant and the intake structure are complete. To say that this process will take hundreds of hours to check is not true. It will take some time to be sure there are no leaks, but the sections of pipeline were filled and pressure tested as they were built and completed.

The placement of the water treatment plant at Max was not at the insistence of the City Manager or the City Engineer. It was a decision based on the fact that the pumps at the intake structure would not pump the water over the continental divide.

So, to save money, the water treatment plant was sited at Max along with pumps to get the water over the continental divide approximately 6 miles north of Max. You can see the signs along Highway 83 if you pay attention.

Another fact about the water treatment plant at Max is, when NAWS preliminary plans were developed, the plant was estimated to cost about $19 million, but because of the delays due to the lawsuits (remember not just the Manitoba lawsuit) the cost of the plant now being constructed is in excess of $60 million.

“Because Minot wanted to control the treatment of the water”! The Minot Water Plant was always going to be used to treat the water from NAWS inception. The water supply was going to be a blend of the Missouri River water and Minot’s existing water supplies. Those supplies include water from two aquifers and the Mouse River. So water at the treatment plant south of the divide could not be the final treatment of the water.

The Minot Water Treatment plant is being updated to treat all of the water needed. The ultimate capacity is 27 million gallons per day. If, as is indicated in the letter, the water treatment plant south of the divide was supposed to treat all of the water, Minot’s existing water supplies would have had to be pumped south to the new plant, treated, and pumped back to Minot. Water would have never been flowing from this Max plant within a year or two.

To say that lines will have to be built to the south of Minot to supply treated water is not true. That area is part of North Prairie Water area, and the lines already exist. In fact, the new tower built about 6 miles south of Minot is part of their system.

The NAWS system is owned by the State. It is in State law. Has been in State law from the beginning. There is now a board being formed to advise and consent on the operation of the system. The board is going to be made up if representative from the cities, the counties and the rural water system being served by NAWS.

The litigation referred to in the letter, other than the EIS was for money from NAWS monies being transferred into the general fund. The money that was transferred was not of the principal money, but the interest made on the principal. How little or how much that was I don’t know.

For now, the timeline for NAWS completion is estimated to be the end of 2023. Hopefully, that will be. But with what has happened with the U.S. economy because of COVID, the availability of equipment needed could delay some of the necessary items for the system.

We are conservative Republicans, but he and his buddies are negative, negative, negative!


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