Clean water flows in North Havre


Water is already flowing through pipes to more than 40 connections north of Havre, with the official celebration of the clean water to be held next month.

The North Havre County Water District users have been under a boil

o rde r fo r year s, Hi l l Count y Commissioner Mike Wendland said.

"So this is a big, exciting step for them to be able to get water that they don't have to boil," he added.

"I think all of the areas that will be served by that line are anxiously awaiting the water," he said.

"It's health of our community. It's economic development. This is definitely a reason to celebrate," said Mary Heller, general manager of the North Central Montana Regional Water Authority.

"It was a great project for those people up there," said Dave Peterson, Havre public works director. "It will give them good, reliable drinking water up there, and we have the capacity to provide it for them."

Once finished, the Rocky Boy's- North Central Montana Regional Water System will serve an estimated 30,000 people over 6.8 million acres, Heller said.

The system, a joint project between the water authority and the Chippewa Cree Tribe of Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation, was authorized in 2002. It is estimated to take 20 years to complete the $350 million work.

Due to limited congressional funding the authority has been working to complete small-scale projects that can later be hooked into the larger project that will be comprised of 450 miles of pipe with a treatment facility at Tiber Reservoir.

The north Havre district is the first district off the reservation to receive water from the project.

Government agencies place restrictions and regulations on water that smaller communities have a difficult time keeping up with, Heller said.

Compliance letters threatening hefty fines are daunting, she added.

"Our little rural communi t ies jus t can't handle the regulations that the EPA is requiring costwise," she said.

"We're trying to prioritize it to put those communities that are getting those nasty (compliance) letters and are ready to go at the top of the list," she said.

The celebration begins 9 a.m. Friday, Aug. 20, at the TownHouse Inn in Havre. Then at 10 a.m., celebrants will drive to the North Havre Pump Station for a tour of the facility that is pumping water, bought from the Havre treatment plant, to the northern district.

Next, people will drive at 11 a.m. to the core pipeline area that will serve Rocky Boy. A lunch at noon will be held south of Chester, and a tour of the core pipeline and Tiber Dam intake facilities will follow at 1 p.m. Activities are scheduled to wrap up at 2:30 p.m. The event is free and open to anyone.

"Come to the celebration," Heller said, "because clean drinking water is definitely a reason to celebrate."

To RSVP or for more information, contact Heller at (406) 399-0640.


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