The largest project in Pierre city government history is starting to take shape. I’m talking about the new Drinking Water Treatment Facility. On Tuesday night, the City Commission approved the construction cost, as well as the facility design.
Although I am extremely excited to see this project moving forward, it was not a decision the City Commission took lightly. It’s a huge investment ($37.5 million), and one that will literally impact every person and business in Pierre.
You might remember, in June 2018, the city put the project on the ballot. And boy did the voters speak loud and clear -73% gave the project a thumbs up.
That’s almost unheard of! Very rarely does 73% of the population agree on anything. Even more rarely does 73% of the population agree to something that will cost them more money. My point? This project is a big deal to the commission, and a big deal to the community.
Before I get into project details, I do want to thank the community, the commission, the city staff, and our engineering team for supporting this project and working hard to get us to this point.
The project has been in design for two years. Full construction of the project will take nearly two more years, and we’re getting started on that construction next month.
Here’s what you can expect.
In August, work will begin on the water intake and pump station. The water intake will be located in the Missouri River upstream from the train bridge. As you might know, the new drinking water treatment facility will use surface water from the river. That water will flow from the intake to a pump station located north of the Missouri River car bridge. It will pump the water under Sioux Avenue to the treatment facility that will be built in Steamboat Park –downstream from the car bridge.
Just that segment of the project will take us all the way to the end of next year.
Later this year, while work is happening on the north side of Sioux Avenue, you’ll also start to see activity on the south side. Excavation for the treatment facility will start late this year. This is no small task –about half of the facility will be underground. That means the team will have to dig deep and remove ground water at the site. That will lead into concrete work, piping, and mechanical and electrical systems. If all stays on schedule, by mid-2022, we can start transitioning from the old system to the new one. And by fall 2022, the new treated water should be flowing to your faucet.
You can also expect other temporary changes during the construction of the plant. Primarily, an influx of construction teams. There are more than 40 independent construction components to this project. We’re hopeful some will go to local contractors. We also expect some will go to specialized contractors from outside the Pierre area.
The next two years will be busy; we’re making history here in Pierre!