Western Area Water Supply Project

Infrastructure Unable to Handle Rapid Growth

The oil boom in northwestern North Dakota created a frenzy of industrial activity and economic development. The area’s infrastructure, however, was not adequate to handle this extreme growth. The Western Area Water Supply Project (WAWSP) was developed to create a regional water system to supply drinking water from the Missouri River supplemented with groundwater from the R&T Water Supply Commerce Authority (WSCA) to meet the municipal, rural, and industrial water needs for all or parts of McKenzie, Williams, Divide, Burke, and Mountrail Counties. The project will supply drinking water for an estimated 160,000 people expected to be in northwest North Dakota by 2038 as predicted by North Dakota State University (NDSU). This is in comparison to an estimated population of 25,000 in the same region as recent as 2010.

Conceptual Design Outlines Plan of Action

In order to serve the anticipated regional domestic and a portion of the industrial water demands, AE2S developed a conceptual design for the WAWSP which included: an expansion of the Williston Regional Water Treatment Plant (WTP); a main transmission system through Williams County providing service to northwest Williams County and connecting to existing R&T WSCA transmission lines serving eastern Williams and western Mountrail counties; an extension of the existing R&T WSCA transmission main from Wildrose to Crosby; a main transmission system through McKenzie County; and several rural water distribution systems throughout the WAWSP service area.

The original transmission system conceptual design included 13 reservoirs with a total storage capacity of 16 million gallons and six pump stations with a total capacity of 35 MGD. Bulk fill depots were also planned at strategic points along the transmission lines to facilitate efficient water delivery to bulk use

The original design concept for the water supply and treatment system was to utilize the existing intake and treatment system of the Williston Regional WTP along with a satellite water treatment plant near Ray, ND owned by R&T WSCA and operated under contract with WAWSA. The plants would be expanded under a phased approach to stay ahead of the projected domestic peak day water demands. The existing Williston Regional WTP was designed to readily accommodate filtration and pumping system expansions to increase capacity to 14 MGD, the construction of which is complete, with a second expansion to 21 MGD under construction. A third expansion to 28 MGD was included in the initial conceptual design in the planning stages but this has since been revised to include two additional expansions within a 20 year planning horizon. After the expansion to 21 MGD is complete, the next expansion plans to take the facility to 35 MGD. Towards the end of the planning horizon, an expansion to 50 MGD may be needed if the service population approaches 160,000 in that time frame.

Project Status

AE2S helped secure $110 million from the state legislature to fund Phase I and II projects in 2011 and $119 million to fund Phase III projects in 2013. Since 2011, AE2S has designed, 1) 540 miles of rural distribution and transmission pipeline that have installed with another 455 miles currently under construction, and more than 135 miles of additional pipelines under final design; 2) six reservoirs currently in service with three more under construction; five pump stations in service with another pump station under construction; and 3) five bulk fill depots in service with one in final design. In addition to the transmission and distribution system improvements, AE2S has also designed two expansions of the Williston Regional WTP. The first expansion increased capacity from 10 MGD to 14 MGD and was completed in April of 2014. The second expansion will increase capacity from 14 MGD to 21 MGD is under construction with various systems currently undergoing startup with the increased capacity being fully function in May of 2015. In four short years, AE2S has worked relentlessly with WAWSA to accomplish all of this in order to provide service to 11 communities (the cities of Williston, Watford City, Ray, Tioga, Stanley, Wildrose, Crosby, Fortuna, Noonan, Columbus, and Ross) and over 4,000 rural water service connections in the Bakken Region of North Dakota. AE2S will continue to work with WAWSA to complete the build out of the estimated $470 million dollar project to provide service to the estimated service population of 160,000 people.

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