Friday, May 24, 2024

Belfield Tackles Aging Infrastructure: Upgrades Planned for Outdated Lift Station

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BELFIELD, ND — Infrastructure upgrades are in progress in Belfield as the city addresses the challenges posed by an aging lift station.

The station’s current pumps are outdated, necessitating custom-made parts—a costly solution, according to engineers.

“It has reached its expected lifespan; it’s time to consider a project to either replace or refurbish the station,” says Shannon Hewson, an engineer with Brosz Engineering.

The lift station operates with two pumps; if one fails, the other serves as a backup. However, “There is no immediate threat; losing another pump, though, would pose a significant risk of improperly treated sewage,” Hewson adds.

Funding replacement is a primary hurdle. “The biggest challenge small communities face is the exorbitant cost,” Hewson explains.

Hewson estimates the replacement costs between $1.4 million and $1.5 million. Currently, Belfield is exploring grants to avoid dipping into public funds.

Dean Haynes, a wastewater technical specialist with the North Dakota Rural Water System Association, is aiding the city with these efforts, developing a detailed plan for the necessary improvements.

Haynes emphasizes the proactive approach of the North Dakota Rural Water System Association, which assists cities with water and wastewater challenges in populations under 10,000. “We simply show up and ask if they need help,” he said, recalling his initial visit to Belfield and a conversation with a local official named Connie, who highlighted the deteriorating condition of the lift station.

Despite the potential high costs, Haynes reassured that the financial burden would not be passed onto Belfield residents. “We only charge a minimal maintenance fee for the materials we use,” he stated. Funding is anticipated to primarily come from grants and potentially from low-interest loans that could convert into grants.

The association’s ability to offer such support derives from a combination of grant funding, including from the EPA, and membership fees.

Hawson described how this issue in rural communities is a common occurrence. “[Belfield] isn’t the only place this type of thing is going on. This is a concern for every small community… Some communities have started paying for them on their own, but it’s a big burden for the taxpayer,” he said.

Manny is a journalist with a diverse background in communications. Born and raised in El Paso, Texas, he earned his degree in the DFW area before venturing to New York City. There he worked as an ethnic media reporter, covering local issues and immigration news. A long history of dedication to sensitive reporting, Manny’s journalistic journey has led him to Dickinson where he takes on the role of a hard news reporter.

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