Water supplyThe City Council’s Public Works Committee Thursday recommended approval of a memorandum of understanding to supply Great River Energy’s Spiritwood Station with a backup supply of gray water.
By: Toni Pirkl, The Jamestown Sun
The City Council’s Public Works Committee Thursday recommended approval of a memorandum of understanding to supply Great River Energy’s Spiritwood Station with a backup supply of gray water.
GRE is working on development of a pipeline to bring treated wastewater from the Jamestown Wastewater Treatment Plant the 10 miles to Spiritwood Station. The pipeline would have a 2,000 gallon-per-minute capacity, with a return of 750 gpm, which would be treated by the wastewater plant and discharged to the James River. Councilman Charlie Kourajian asked if the city had enough wastewater to supply GRE. City Administrator Jeff Fuchs said that would not be a problem.
According to the memorandum of understanding, the Stutsman Rural Water District will design, construct and own the $7 million pipeline system. GRE will pay some of the cost of construction and a user fee. GRE will also pay the city for the water it receives and for wastewater treatment. None of those costs have been negotiated. Before they are the City Council must approve the MOU.
Andy Stewart, Spiritwood Station project manager, said GRE still plans to use Cargill Malt’s wastewater as its primary source. The water is used to make steam which in turn creates electricity at its coal-fired plant. In return GRE will provide its waste steam to Cargill as an energy source. A secondary water source is part of the plant’s built-in redundancy, so it can always provide steam and electricity.
However, to make the power plant as efficient as possible, GRE needs at least one more host for its waste steam. The original plan for the Spiritwood Energy Park included an ethanol plant called Spirit Energy to use the waste steam. At this point, no progress has been made on its construction. The ethanol plant’s developer, Harold Newman, was at the meeting.
Newman objected to GRE’s owning the water and asked the City Council to hold off on a decision to supply wastewater.
“Essentially, GRE has veto power over water to the ethanol plant,” Newman said. “The water should not be obligated to one entity.”
He added that his ethanol plant would require 360 million gallons of water a year. His only source would be the city’s gray water. Mayor Clarice Liechty, who chairs the Public Works Committee, said it’s important to have the ethanol plant or another facility out there to use the steam that GRE makes.
“It (the pipe) is sized so they could partner with another plant,” Liechty said.
Newman said nothing about going ahead with construction of the ethanol plant. But he did say he had until 2017 to do it. He also said he owns 551 acres out there that he could sell to GRE or the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. The 2017 date is a clawback in the agreement with the JSDC. It says if the ethanol plant were to move out of Stutsman County before 2017, the $4 million in JSDC grant funds would have to be repaid. The city and county authorized $6 million in economic development funds toward the project, with $2 million of it as an equity investment.
“I haven’t used one dime of the money,” Newman said. “It’s in a federally insured bank in Jamestown. All $6 million is in an escrow account.”
Although the committee recommended approval of the MOU to the City Council, members of the committee said Newman’s concerns could be discussed further at the Dec. 1 council meeting.
Sun reporter Toni Pirkl can be reached at (701) 952-8453 or by e-mail at email@example.com