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Study goes on: CHS still considering Spiritwood nitrogen plant

CHS officials have not set a date for a decision on the proposed nitrogen fertilizer plant at Spiritwood, according to Brian Schouvieller, CHS senior vice president.

“I won’t put a timeline on it,” he said. “But there is a point of time where we make a decision. We won’t be rushed.”

In April, CHS announced a delay in the project citing rising costs. Plans for the project were originally announced in September 2012, with an estimated cost of about $1.2 billion. Project costs had risen to more than $1.8 billion when the delay was announced.

The project would be the largest construction project for CHS and the largest in North Dakota.

“We’re still looking at the economic viability of the project,” Schouvieller said. “We’re trying to pull costs out and working with the state for funding and incentives.”

Water is another issue.

“… We have not been very active since putting the project on hold,” he said, referring to water testing. “Testing of the Spiritwood Aquifer showed an additional 600 gallons per minute. We need 2,700 gallons per minute. The next place to look is the Jamestown Aquifer. We need to determine how much water is available from that.”

Gray water — treated waste water — is another option, Schouvieller said.

The Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. approved funding up to $99,000 for phase one testing on the Jamestown Aquifer during its July meeting Monday. Costs of complete testing of the aquifer are estimated between $500,000 and $700,000, according to Connie Ova, CEO of the JSDC. The JSDC could look for funding partners for the complete project after phase one is finished.

Ova said funding for the first phase of the project still required approval by the Jamestown City Council and the Stutsman County Commission at their August meetings. She estimated work could start in August.

“We would like to see the water study done in August,” Schouvieller said. “We need assurance there will be an adequate water source. We know there is an adequate water supply either as a combination of the two aquifers (Spiritwood and Jamestown) or from gray water.”

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

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