BISMARCK, N.D. --In a 4-2 vote, the Burleigh County Park Board recently approved an easement for a pipeline to discharge treated wastewater near the Kneifel Landing Boat Ramp. The easement allows a 3 1/2-inch pipe to be installed 7 to 9 feet underground.
The pipeline will move treated sewage water from a future Misty Waters treatment plant to the Missouri River, just south of the boat ramp. The water would discharge below the water line, not at bank level, said officials from Toman Engineering. The system would replace the operation where sewage water from Misty Waters homes is stored and then trucked off to be added to Bismarck’s sewer treatment system. If it is permitted, it could be ready for operation in the fall.
County Park Board members Brian Bitner and Dave Bement voted against the easement May 5, saying they were uncomfortable with the water being pushed out when people swam, waded and fished just south of the discharge area.
Mark Armstrong, Doug Schonert, Jim Peluso and Jerry Woodcox voted for the easement after they were assured by a state health official the water was clean and would be monitored weekly. Park board member Doug Prchal was absent.
The system would treat wastewater for a dozen homes there, but has the capacity to treat water for 120 other lots that could be developed in the future, said County Engineer Marcus Hall.
Carl Rockman, director of Division of Water Quality for the state Health Department, said the Misty Waters will have to obtain discharge permit from the state Health Department. “They will be required to monitor (the treated water) coming out of the plant and will have to meet our water quality standards.” He said the treated water was safe enough to swim in after park board members asked. “It will have to meet our water quality standards for recreation water.” He said the monitoring will be done by the the operator, Misty Waters LLC., who must report the testing results to the agency.
Ron Manchester of Toman Engineering — speaking for Misty Waters LLC. —said the treated wastewater would be discharged at a rate of 55 gallons per minute, but quickly dissolve in the river that flowed at 9 million to 12 million gallons per minute.
Clark Hicks, who represented the supplier of the wastewater treatment system, said the system could be shut off immediately and that operators would have instant alerts if there were a snag in the system. A surface backup system is part of the treatment system. It would allow the water to be pumped out if blocked by an ice jam or sediment buildup from an above-water pipe briefly and then shut down.
The contract allows the county park board to pull the easement if Misty Waters LLC. is not complying with treatment maintenance requirements specified, said Hall.
“I would like to see another option,” Bement said. “I am against the public being in this situation.”
Bitner said he’d have a hard time fishing there or letting his family fish there.
Park board members were told the system’s treated water is used to water golf courses in southern states and is safe.
Schonert also raised concerns about the perception of treated wastewater flowing toward people who fish and wade in the water downstream. He was convinced to vote in favor after he was told the water was cleaner than the cities’ discharges and that it would be pumped out below water level.
John Spitzer, who attended the meeting, said the pipeline should have been on the developer’s land, not park property.
Toman Engineering officials said the treated water is cleaner than that being discharged into the river by the cities of Bismarck and Mandan.
Park Board members asked if the discharge could be moved further south, but were told the banks to the south were too unstable and vulnerable to erosion.