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ILRW breaks ground on $12.2 million project

Construction site south of Graettinger will serve increasing water demands in over a dozen communities

By Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer | Sep 27, 2020

A remote construction site south of Graettinger on River Road served as the location for a $12.2 million rural water project, the Osgood Water Treatment Plant for Iowa Lakes Regional Water. Officials from Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Washington DC made their way on the gravel road Wednesday morning to celebrate the start of the project. Chief among them was USDA Deputy Undersecretary for Rural Water Development Bette Brand, who praised the partnerships that made the project happen and said, “when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”

Brand also set out the importance of the project to the immediate area it will serve. “These investments prepare America’s rural community for the routine and unexpected challenges but more importantly these investments equip communities like Osgood tools and resources if they need to handle the unthinkable and unpredictable. Today we are breaking ground on a $12.2 million investment for USDA rural water infrastructure project. Iowa Lakes Regional Water will use this funding to increase capacity to service the existing Superior, Emmet, East Okoboji and Big Spirit subsystems. You cannot have economic development or overall resiliency in rural communities if you don’t have rural water systems that can handle growth,” Brand said.

The Osgood Water Source Development Project will include three wells, a ground storage reservoir, filtered backwash ponds, and a reverse osmosis water plant, with 2.5 miles of raw pipe and nine miles of finished pipe set to be installed. It will serve approximately 8.500 current customers and more than 16,750 future customers in over a dozen communities. Osgood is an unincorporated township in southern Palo Alto County.

Iowa Lakes Regional Water was first established in 1977 and currently serves Clay County as well as portions of Buena Vista, Dickinson, Emmet, Palo Alto, Cherokee, Emmet, O’Brien, Osceola, Kossuth, Humboldt and Sac counties as well as Minnesota’s Jackson County.

Iowa Lakes Regional Water CEO Randy Van Dyke said, “We need to always find a good water quality source that has the capacity to expand and then put the proper treatment plant in place. This is a reverse osmosis, state of the art, very best treatment facility on the industry standards at this point, that is taking water from a very robust aquifer that begins here from north of Emmetsburg and continues on down the west fork of the Des Moines River.”

Van Dyke said the Osgood facility is only the first phase. The completed project with all phases will have the ability to treat and pump water into the distribution system up to 4.5 million gallons a day. The initial phase is smaller with the capacity to expand as demand expands. The project will serve 40% of the livestock and confinement water usage demands throughout the system.

A completion date is set for 2021. Contributors include USDA Rural Development, CoBank, ARWO, DGR Engineering, Iowa Lakes Regional Water members, and contractors John T. Jones Construction, Sargent Drilling, Great Plains Structures, Harn RO Systems, Inc., and Micro-Comm.