The Pierre City Commission learned tonight that if the community wants a water treatment plant, it will cost about $35 million to build, operate, and maintain one. They also learned that the best place to build a water treatment plant is mostly likely near the Missouri River.
This information was provided by AE2S, an engineering consulting firm that, for the last 10 months, has been studying Pierre’s current water system and looking into different ways the City could change its water treatment process.
“We looked at a variety of options for sourcing Pierre’s water supply and changing how it’s treated,” said Delvin DeBoer, AE2S Project Engineer. “From an operational and a financial standpoint, if Pierre residents want treated water, our recommendation is to build a plant south of the Missouri River highway bridge.
DeBoer said that the recommended plant would provide treated water similar to the water provided by surrounding rural water systems. He also said that AE2S looked at connecting Pierre to an already existing rural water system, but that the neighboring systems don’t have enough capacity to support Pierre’s long-term needs.
“We started exploring a treatment plant because the results of our most recent community survey showed that our residents were interested in changing our water,” said Pierre Mayor Steve Harding. “Now that we know what it will cost us, we’ll need to see if the residents are still interested.”
According to estimates provided by Pierre Municipal Utilities, the recommended plant would add an average of $1 a day to each residential municipal water account.
“That’s just an average,” said Brad Palmer, City Utility Director. “People will pay for volume used. If a commercial account uses a lot of water, its cost will be higher than that of an individual who uses a smaller quantity.”
That average additional dollar would be used to pay back a 30-year loan used to build the facility, as well as ongoing maintenance and operation costs.
“This is a really big investment and a major decision for our community,” said Mayor Harding. “The Commission won’t make this decision. The City will place the issue on the June ballot.”
Between now and then, the City will host public meetings and continue to provide additional information to help the public make an informed decision. For more information, visit cityofpierre.org.