2012-03-21 / Headlines

Oglala Sioux Rural Water Supply System works to get pumping stations back on line

Mni Wiconi project finish line in sight, Fall 2013
By Tom Crash
Times Correspondent


Pump Station #8, three miles southwest of Potato Creek, was taken off line after a high pressure event in October of 2011, by the third week of February it was operational in a low flow, manual operation mode and by early May should be back fully operational at design capacity and with automatic operation; photo courtesy of Willard Clifford /OSRWSS. Pump Station #8, three miles southwest of Potato Creek, was taken off line after a high pressure event in October of 2011, by the third week of February it was operational in a low flow, manual operation mode and by early May should be back fully operational at design capacity and with automatic operation; photo courtesy of Willard Clifford /OSRWSS. KYLE – What is described as a high pressure event took place in October of 2011 on the Oglala Sioux Rural Water Supply System water line east of Kyle; the event caused enough damage to Pumping Station #7, located three miles west of Highway 44/Kyle junction near Bear Creek and Pumping Station #8, located three miles southwest of Potato Creek that PS #8 had to be taken out of service.

In November of 2011, two independent firms were hired to review and evaluate the problems. Frank Means, OSRWSS director implemented a short range plan to get PS #8 operational again in a low flow, manual operation by the end of February to begin pumping water again to the public between PS #8 and the East Kyle Resevoir and a long range plan to get both PS #7 and PS #8 fully operational again at design capacity with automatic operation so water could get to Kyle by early May.

“During this repair time, we've made sure that families are provided with water throughout this area,” said Willard Clifford, acting director of the OST Water Maintenance and Conservation, “we're working hard to get back up to speed, to make sure service lines are completed and to take precautions so we minimize the chances of future high pressure events.”

Morrison Maierle, Inc. has been overseeing the repair work and is working with regional contractors including Northern Plains Construction, Muth Electric and Dakota Pump.

“The high pressure event allowed moisture to get into electrical conduits and caused damage to the pumping station infrastructure,” said Means, “we depend on engineering designs and construction companies; when something like this happens, we want to get our equipment back online as soon as possible and fix it in a way that limits the chances of it happening again. - sometimes you feel powerless when you are depending on someone else, we're committed to delivering good quality drinking water to residents across the reservation.”

Pump station sites were excavated to assess and fix damaged areas, exterior junction boxes were added to prevent future moisture penetration, power distribution panels were replaced and suction cans were re-welded, repainted and pressure tested.

In Control, a recognized specialist in programming and controls for water systems has been contracted to re-program the system to get both PS #8, PS #7 and Kyle East Reservoir fully back on line.

There are still service lines to be completed by the Fall of 2013 and several last pipeline links including Gordon Junction to Wounded Knee Junction, Hisle Junction to Hisle community, Batesland to Allen, Hisle to Allen and Allen to Batesland.

“Sen. Tim Johnson is going to introduce legislation to extend our authorization to 2015 and add $14.2 million to the budget, $8.6 million to run the pipeline from Allen to Martin and Martin north and $5.6 million to Rosebud,” said Means, “we had originally planned to ask for a lot more to do community upgrades on Pine Ridge and to deal with livestock needs but the budget environment forced us to scale back, we're going to plan a water summit to involve a number of the players on the reservation to find resources for both community upgrades and livestock needs. We still have the goal to complete one reservation wide water system but its going to require all of us to work together to get it done and it will need leadership from tribal government.”

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