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JSDC funds study of aquifer here

The Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. approved spending up to $99,000 for the first phase of a water study of the Jamestown Aquifer Monday. A complete study of the capacity of the aquifer is likely to cost between $500,000 and $700,000, according to Connie Ova, CEO of the JSDC.

The project now moves to the Jamestown City Council and Stutsman County Commission for final approval at its August meeting.

The study would determine the effect of removing water from the aquifer under the James River and replacing it with treated waste water in the James River. Tests would be performed on wells in the area to determine if the groundwater levels change.

The water could serve as a raw material for the proposed CHS nitrogen fertilizer plant or be used by future industrial users.

Ova said that the JSDC has about 700 acres available for development in Spiritwood. It is likely that some future developments would require large quantities of industrial water.

The Jamestown Aquifer runs under Jamestown and follows the course of the James River. Currently, the city of Jamestown has a contract to deliver its treated wastewater to Great River Energy. However, the water has been determined to contain too high of a level of phosphates for use by GRE and is being released into the river.

“The fastest but not necessarily easiest way is for them (CHS) to tap into the Jamestown Aquifer and dump the water into the James River,” said Jamestown Mayor Katie Andersen.

Andersen said Jamestown currently discharges treated wastewater into the James River but doesn’t receive credit for adding the water to the aquifer from the North Dakota Water Commission. Because permits have been issued for all water in the aquifer, any new user would be required to replace the water it uses with water from another source.

In other business, the JSDC Board of Directors approved the 2015 budget, including a 5 percent salary increase for JSDC staff and an overall 5 percent increase for expenditures.

The board also referred debate on participation in the Flex Pace Affordable Housing Program to its executive committee. The Flex Pace Affordable Housing Program provides an interest buy down for each new housing unit dedicated to affordable housing. The Bank of North Dakota offers $25,000 for each affordable unit which is matched by about $10,300 in local community funds.

Jamestown Court Rowhomes, a 24-unit housing development located at the former Essentia Clinic location, has applied for the program.

Corey Bayer, owner of Marvel Homes in Jamestown, addressed the JSDC about problems concerning approval of his Flex Pace interest buy down that was approved by the JSDC and the Jamestown City Council.

The item was removed from the Stutsman County Commission agenda because of problems with the storm water permit on the property. Bayer said that part of the silt containment fabric was damaged by high water and wind.

“I was not given notice the two items would be tied together,” he said. “I am extremely disappointed in the way this has been handled.”

Ova said JSDC policy prohibited dispersing economic incentive funds to projects that were not in full compliance with regulations.

“This is a great example of how difficult things can be to get done here,” Bayer said.

Bayer said he hoped to bring the lot into compliance when the ground dried.

Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at knorman@jamestownsun.com

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