Changes in Bismarck Water | VideoRetha Colclasure | 3/14/2013
Water pulled from the Missouri River in Bismarck goes through a lot of steps before it ends up in a faucet. And those steps are about to change.
"We`re doing this in response to a change in federal regulations that happened last year. This will allow us to continue to use chlorine for our disinfecting process, but just a different form of it," said Bismarck Director of Utility Operations Keith Demke.
The change will begin around the second week in April. Kidney dialysis patients and aquarium owners will be the ones impacted the most.
"There may be a different taste that people see right away when we make the change when they`re going from the current water to the new water and there may be a mixture of the two," Demke said.
It will take a few days to a week to turn over all 20 million gallons of water the city has in storage.
It may not look like much, but this is what the big change is all about. Right now, chlorine enters the water system. In a few weeks, that will change. A different chemical will be added to create chloramines.
The place the water comes from will change, as well. Right now, an intake pipe draws water directly from the river. A new pumphouse will draw water from 80 feet under the river, instead.
"It`ll provide a much more consistent water quality coming into the plant," Demke said.
All that change means a lot of work for plant employees.
"It will put a little bit of strain on our staff to take on one more thing because our guys are plenty busy out there in the field right now with all the growth around town, but we`ll do what we need to do to get this done," Demke said.
As for that growth, Demke says the water plant is sitting in a good position to keep up with the expanding needs of the city.
The Bismarck Water Treatment Plant has a maximum capacity of about 30 million gallons a day and gets close to capacity on hot summer days. Right now, it`s treating about seven million a day.
Those groups affected by the change can find more information about what it means to them at www.bismarck.org/DocumentCenter/Index/1322.