Lewis & Clark officials propose expansion

CONSTRUCTION WORKERS with Carstensen Contracting of Dell Rapids work on a radial-collector well that will supply additional water to the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System when completed. The new well, located southwest of Vermillion, is expected to provide 16 million gallons of water each day for the three-state water system.

Lewis & Clark officials plan to spend the remainder of 2020 meeting with their member communities to discuss proposals for expanding the regional water system's output from its current 45 million gallons per day to 60 million gallons per day.

Troy Larson, Lewis & Clark Regional Water System executive director, said the directors of the water pipeline system have made participation in the proposed expansion voluntary for their 20 member cities and rural water systems. Madison is one of Lewis & Clark's member communities, and the water pipeline project still needs to complete a direct connection to the community.

The LCRWS directors were asked to measure each community's possible interest in expansion and collect information as part of a straw poll regarding the project.

Larson said in a phone interview that he has plans to speak to the Madison City Commission on Sept. 14 about the expansion proposal. Larson added that member communities have understood during the construction of LCRWS' initial project that the regional water pipeline's output could grow by 15 million per day if demand developed.

The pipeline is currently designed to deliver Missouri River water to 20 communities in South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota. LCRWS still needs to connect pipeline to several communities in Iowa and to Madison. The regional water pipeline has cooperated with a couple of South Dakota rural water systems and Madison to make connections between Madison and the other communities so that additional water is available to the city. Those pipeline connections will assist Madison with water resources until a direct LCRWS is completed.

Madison's contract with Lewis & Clark has the water system delivering 1 million gallons of treated water to the city each day.

According to Larson, each LCRWS member would pay their proportional share of the proposed expansion, calculated from the amount of additional water a member might request. He said that Madison's current share was calculated at 3.68% of total output. Larson added that the volume for Madison's current share was 552,000 gallons per day.

In their summer 2020 newsletter, Lewis & Clark officials reported a new daily-demand record of 25.1 million gallons of water set on June 17. The previous record stood at 23.7 million gallons which was set in July 2019. Prior to June 17, the demand on the water system's output was higher for four consecutive days during the first week in June 2020 than the day of the 2019 record.

According to LCRWS officials, 2020 water demand is 2.5% higher from Jan. 1 to July 31 when compared to the same period in 2019.

Among the current construction work under way for the Lewis & Clark water pipeline, Carstensen Contracting of Dell Rapids is installing 34 miles of pipeline between Beresford and Sioux Center, Iowa. Divided into three segments, the construction crew is nearing completion of a 11.2-mile segment east of Beresford and may substantially complete the segment in October. A second 10-mile segment of transmission pipeline is under construction westward from Sioux Center and has a December 2021 substantial-completion deadline.

The third pipeline segment consists of 12.6 miles of 24-inch transmission pipeline located between Beresford and Sioux Center and involves crossing the Big Sioux River. The third-segment construction is expected to start in October and has a substantial-completion deadline in December 2021.

The construction budget for all three segments amounts to slightly more than $37 million.

Another construction crew operated by Welfl Construction of Yankton is constructing a radial-collector well along the banks of the Missouri River southwest of Vermillion. The new well is expected to produce 16 million gallons each day. In comparison, Lewis & Clark currently operates 11 vertical wells that each produce about 3 million gallons of water per day.

LCRWS officials report that more capacity is needed to operate the system as more members are connected and connected members use more of their reserve capacity.

The substantial-completion deadline for the $10.4 million well project is scheduled during April 2022.

A LCRWS construction project to build a 2.5 million-gallon water tower southeast of Beresford hit difficulties this summer. Construction workers had difficulties in completing an auger-cast pile system needed for the water tower's foundation.

To complete the pile system, workers had to drill 100 feet down into the ground and pour concrete to build a support column. Test borings conducted by GeoTek Inc. of Sioux Falls had determined that an underground glacial fluvial segment had enough firmness to hold grout in place for the support columns. However, the firmness was not consistent throughout the fluvial level and, for some of the bored holes, the concrete spilled laterally and did not form a column. Work was halted on July 7.

The project's engineers advised Lewis & Clark officials to switch to a driven steel H-pile system for the water tower foundation. The LCRWS directors approved on Aug. 14 a $1.04 million change order and seven-month extension for the water-tower construction project. Work resumed on the construction project on Wednesday.

According to the contractor, Caldwell Tanks of Louisville, Ky., the LCRWS structure will stand as the tallest 2.5 million-gallon water tower in the United States.