Billion-Dollar Water Tunnel Burrows to Halfway Point

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Tyndall, SD, Project Taps Into Better Water

Sat August 14, 2004 - Midwest Edition
CEG



TYNDALL, SD (AP) Tyndall officials and residents are hoping for better drinking water by late fall.

The town is tapping into the B-Y Rural Water System as part of a $12.4 million expansion of a treatment plant southeast of Tabor, said B-Y manager Mike Williams.

B-Y is obtaining easements and preparing for the bid process, Williams said, and hopes to complete the project by late fall or early spring.

Soaring demand at the treatment plant made the expansion project a necessity and opened a window to add new customers, Williams said.

“We reached our peak capacity in 2002,” he said. “The industries in town are expanding, and we need adequate capacity.”

Tyndall Mayor Dick McCann, who calls the city’s water “terrible,” said connecting to the pipeline will be a great improvement.

“It will make our residents happier,” McCann said.

The state Board of Water and Natural Resources approved a $75,000 grant for Tyndall to connect to the system. The grant, combined with local funds and a $861,000 Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loan, provides the financing to construct the pipeline and pay a one-time hookup fee of $150,000.

Workers will install about 64,000 feet of eight-inch diameter pipe to bring 264,000 gallons of water per day into the city.

The upcoming construction of 300 to 400 miles of pipeline will serve northwest Hutchinson County, southwest Bon Homme County and Tyndall, Williams said.

B-Y will add nearly 1,500 Tyndall residents to its system, as well as 176 rural customers in Hutchinson County and 138 in Bon Homme County, Williams said. The rural customers are charged $1,550 apiece for membership.

The northwest Hutchinson County pipeline will become the first phase. The $1.8 million project will be financed by a $900,000 grant and a $900,000 loan through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Lynn Jensen, state director for USDA Rural Development, said the project represents more than just water. The pipeline brings tremendous potential for value-added agriculture and entrepreneurial activities, he said.

“Look at the demographics,” Jensen said. “Wherever there is not an integrated water system, you have an out-migration of population. Those who have water are growing.”