Source: United States Senator for North Dakota Heidi Heitkamp
PETERSBURG, N.D. – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp today met with local officials and toured a water infrastructure improvement project she helped secure $2.7 million in funding for in the 2017 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers work plan. The project will replace the city’s aging clay sewer system to ensure residents have reliable sewer service.
For over a year, Heitkamp pressed federal appropriators in Congress and the Army Corps to provide critical federal funds that enabled this long-overdue water infrastructure improvement, which was then allocated following her efforts. By replacing the city’s aging clay pipes, Petersburg’s new sewage lines are expected to last for the next 100 years.
In Petersburg, the soil that lies beneath the community is heavier than the sandy soil its clay pipes are made for – increasing the threat of pipeline bursts and leaks, particularly after several decades. The federal funds Heitkamp fought for will cover 75 percent of the cost of replacing the clay pipes with more durable plastic piping.
“Aging water infrastructure in rural communities like Petersburg is a threat to economic security and the health and well-being of North Dakota families, and Petersburg’s outdated sewer system is especially vulnerable because of the local geography,” Heitkamp said. “Major infrastructure projects like sewer replacements are essential to keeping rural America strong. But it’s a challenge for small communities foot the bill all on their own, so I fought for a year to get funding to help Petersburg make these much-needed improvements. With updated water infrastructure, Petersburg will be an even more attractive place to grow a business and raise a family. Every day I wake up and fight for rural America in the U.S. Senate, and it’s great to see this project underway to keep this community strong.”
Heitkamp met with Petersburg’s mayor, city council members, and project officials to get an update on progress and discuss other needs and concerns of the community.
A strong advocate for improving water infrastructure, Heitkamp has fought for federal support for water systems upgrades across the state by:
- Securing $29.2 million to expand and improve water supply infrastructure in North Dakota through the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Heitkamp recently announced federal funding she fought for to support the Northwest Area Water Supply project, specifically the design and construction of upgrades to the Minot Water Treatment Plant, and the design of biota water treatment plant near Max – both of which serve communities throughout northwest North Dakota. The funding will also support rural water projects in Indian Country, like the Fort Berthold Twin Buttes Water Treatment Plant Project and a pressure reducing valve and pipeline project for the Trenton Indian Service Area.
- Securing $3.5 million for the city of Medina for water infrastructure improvements. Medina’s sewer and water infrastructure was originally installed in the 1940s, and the aging pipes are undersized and severely corroded. Funding secured by Heitkamp will support completion of the first phase of a project to replace sanitary sewers and water mains.
- Supporting FM Diversion to improve flood protection around Fargo. Heitkamp has long fought to make sure the federal government lives up to its responsibilities and assists the Fargo area in recovering from past flooding, while also helping protect communities throughout North Dakota from future floods. She recently secured $35 million in additional funding to allow for design work for necessary changes to the project, and for furthering the public-private partnership model being used for the project.
- Introducing provision to strengthen Devils Lake flood protections. Heitkamp fought to include federal funding for long-term maintenance and operations costs related to the permanent levee protecting the City of Devils Lake and the surrounding area from flood waters in a new bipartisan water infrastructure bill.
- Securing federal support for water supply systems across North Dakota. After years of pressing to improve water systems for the city of LaMoure, Heitkamp helped secure $3.9 million in February 2016 to make long-overdue updates to the city’s sanitary sewage system, which can be overwhelmed during flood events. In February 2015, Heitkamp helped secure $2.25 million in federal support to help stabilize the water supply in Cooperstown – where pipeline breaks as a result of damage from the cold winter months put the town in danger of experiencing significant shortages. This follows her work to help secure $5 million for improvementsto New England, ND water systems in August 2014.
- Improving access to clean water in rural communities in North Dakota and across the country. Last year, Heitkamp introduced her bipartisan Small and Rural Community Clean Water Technical Assistance Act to authorize two new technical assistance provisions to improve wastewater treatment in rural communities. The legislation builds on her bipartisan Grassroots Rural and Small Community Water Systems Assistance Act, which was signed into law in 2015. The bill was written to help make sure small towns and rural areas – often lacking the resources to the latest technology or access to proper technological assistance to comply with federal clean water rules. Her bill also provides $15 million in annual support for technical assistance and training to community water systems serving not more than 10,000 people and $10 million annually for medium-sized systems serving between 10,001 and 75,000 people. States would also be able to set aside two percent of their Clean Water State Revolving Funds to assist communities in complying with federal rules and improving wastewater quality. The bill has been included in the Senate water infrastructure bill which was recently approved by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.