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Water Treatment Plant

April 8, 2024

The original Great Bend Water Treatment Plant was constructed in 1983 and the equipment had outperformed its useful life. Red Rock Rural Water System (Red Rock) faced a dilemma: rehab a nearly 40-year-old facility to extend its useful life, or start fresh by constructing a new facility. Red Rock worked with DGR Engineering to begin design of a new state-of-the-art water treatment plant that would provide continued growth opportunity for Red Rock’s next 40 years of operation.

Two new production wells were drilled and developed a total of 1,100 gpm of new capacity. Red Rock also wanted to incorporate operational improvements over the old treatment plant, including a dedicated office space with a fully functional master SCADA computer that can operate all components of the plant, as well as all other facilities in the water system. Pneumatically actuated valves on the filters are tied into the SCADA controls to automate the backwash process.

Two rapid infiltration basins were constructed to collect backwash water from the filters. The infiltration basins allow the backwash water to recycle back into the aquifer while filtered particles settle out on the surface of the basin.

The new Great Bend Water Treatment Plant went into full-time operation in May 2023. By the time the new facility went on-line, the original Great Bend treatment plant was functioning at only 60% of its designed capacity. Initially the new facility will operate at 1.2 million gallons per day (MGD) at a flow rate of 1,000 gpm.

The building is expandable to add future treatment equipment that can double the treatment capacity as water demands increase in the future. With three times more water available and enough annual water appropriation to operate at full capacity all year long, the new facility has become Red Rock’s primary water source.

Water System Improvements

April 8, 2024

DGR Engineering (DGR) worked with the City of Sheldon on a comprehensive study of the Sheldon’s drinking water system. The first phase of the study was to develop a computerized hydraulic model of the drinking water supply system, including pumping facilities, water storage structures, and the network of underground pipelines. The goal of the first phase was to identify the condition of the underground pipelines.

A second phase of the comprehensive study was undertaken to review the adequacy of water storage by utilizing the newly developed hydraulic model. The study found that the City would soon be in need of additional volume of stored water to meet the regulatory requirement for fire protection. With the hydraulic model now built, DGR was able to easily simulate different designs and graphically interpret how the performance of the water supply system changed with the addition of a second water tower. It was determined that a new water tower, located in the southeast corner of the City, along with a looped pipeline, would meet the volume requirement and more. Not only would the water tower help to meet the volume requirement, but the looped pipeline would increase fire flow capacity and provide hydraulic balance. An equalized hydraulic balance allows the water level in the two towers to “float” together so that the full volume of both towers can be used, rather than having one tower overflowing when the other is not yet full.

The water tower is lighted in accordance with FAA Standards because of its proximity to the Sheldon airport.

Erection of the tower was complete by August of 2023, allowing enough time for the field painting work to take place before cold weather set in. Painting is now complete, and the water tower serves as both a critical piece of Sheldon’s drinking water infrastructure and as a welcome beacon for the City.

New Water Distribution System

July 25, 2022

New Water Distribution System

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Big Solutions for a
Small Town Water System

Project Owner:
City of Revere, MN

Key Experience:

  • Successfully navigated the COVID-19 pandemic, with four separate construction contracts and 100% remote funding agency coordination
  • Secured 86% grant through USDA RD, and DEED SCDP funding
  • Replaced water meters with remotely read automatic reading system. High accuracy meters increased revenue and decreased water loss
  • Replaced aging ACP pipe with new PVC - reducing public health risk and greatly reducing risk of water main breaks

Key Features:

  • Entirely new water distribution system
  • All new water meters
  • Demolition of existing water tower
  • Improved water quality with connection to Red Rock Rural Water System

The City of Revere, MN faced a familiar challenge for rural communities in the upper Midwest. The City’s aging water infrastructure was in need of upgrades. But with a declining population and many residents on a fixed income, there were limited resources to pay for costly repairs and maintenance of their failing water system. The water mains, valves and hydrants in the community needed to be replaced, the water tower needed to be repainted, and there was no treatment or back-up supply for the one and only well in town. In need of assistance, The City reached out to DGR Engineering (DGR) as a trusted water professional in the region to help them find a solution.

Aging Water Infrastructure
The existing water infrastructure was installed in the mid-1900s and included water mains which were constructed using asbestos-cement pipe (ACP), which was approaching the end of its useful life. As ACP ages it becomes brittle, making it difficult to repair. With the presence of asbestos fibers in the pipe material, ACP can be a health risk when the pipe is cut during repairs or when cracked. The City was also experiencing a water loss of over 18%. The town’s mechanical water meters were over 40 years old and were suspected to be contributing to the system’s water loss, in the form of unmetered water.

The City’s water tower was over 70 years old with a coating system that was in poor condition and showed visible signs of pitting in the steel. The most recent water tower inspection recommended a complete blast and re-coating of the tower, which would require special consideration for lead paint removal and other improvements to bring the structure into compliance with OSHA safety standards.

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Alternative Water Supply
The City’s water supply consisted of a single production well drilled in 1982 at a depth of approximately 200 feet. Although the well was still in good operating condition, there was no back-up well and no standby generation to ensure continuous water supply in the event of a power outage or failure/maintenance of the existing well. The Minnesota Department of Health imposed a requirement on the City to obtain a backup water source, either by drilling a second well or connecting to a regional water system.
The City’s water source was untreated except for chlorine injection for disinfection. The water quality of the existing well met all state and federal primary drinking water standards, but there were several contaminants that exceeded the non-mandatory secondary drinking water standards. High concentrations of iron, sulfates and total dissolved solids created taste, color and odor concerns within the community. The City needed a solution that not only provided a redundant water supply, but also improved water quality.

Funding Assistance
The City wanted an engineering study that would identify necessary water system improvements and establish a budget for financing those improvements. DGR assisted the City in securing a Special Evaluation Assistance for Rural Communities and Households (SEARCH) grant through USDA Rural Development to fund 100% of the cost of a Preliminary Engineering Report (PER) and Environmental Assessment (EA). The report recommended full replacement of the water distribution system, new water meters with an automated meter reading (AMR) system, demolition of the water tower, abandonment of the existing well and chemical feed building, and a water service connection to the regional rural water system, Red Rock Rural Water System.

With an estimated price tag of over $1.1 million, and a small population, The City needed a comprehensive solution to help make the water system improvements affordable for its residents. The City's median household income made it eligible to receive a grant through the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s (DEED) Small Cities Development Program (SCDP) for public facility improvements.

The SCDP public facility grant was packaged with financing through Rural Development’s Water and Environmental Program that included additional grant funding and a low interest loan. The City’s final funding package included over 86% grant, keeping the project costs affordable for the town’s residents.


Project Design and Construction
With funding secured for the project, The City asked DGR to proceed with final design of the improvements recommended in the PER. Because of the unique nature of each type of work, the final design entailed separate construction contracts for the water distribution system replacement, water metering system replacement, water tower demolition and the connection to the Red Rock Rural Water System.

The water distribution contract was bid in February of 2020. By May of 2020, the water distribution contractor started construction. By the end of the year, all water main and services had been replaced, new water meters had been installed and the system was connected to Red Rock’s system. Once the connection was made to Red Rock, Revere residents said their final goodbyes to the City’s 73-year-old water tower.

Today, The City’s residents enjoy high quality water that comes to them in a new and reliable distribution system. City staff rest comfortably knowing the risk of water main breaks during cold winter nights is now greatly reduced, and customers are being accurately billed for usage. Thanks to a generous funding package, it was all done with a reasonable impact to user rates that was well received by the City’s residents.

In the end, the City of Revere completed a project that met their objectives, budget, and schedule. DGR staff is proud to have played a key role in this successful project.

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Water System Expansion

May 4, 2021

Water System Expansion

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Water system expansion project
adds customers and improves system

Kingbrook Rural Water, Inc. Implements Long-Range Plan by
Improving System Performance and Serving New Customers

Project Owner:
Kingbrook Rural Water, Inc.

Key Experience:

  • Completion of a long-range plan spanning several decades and multiple projects to interconnect water sources
  • Optimized treatment plant performance by moving chemical injection points and adding finished water storage
  • Large rural water pipeline project that extends service to new members and improves system capacity

Key Features:

  • USDA Rural Development funding, including grant and low-interest loan, saving client over $4 million in interest payments
  • 215 miles of pipe 1½” to 16” in diameter extending service to 260 new customers
  • New 630,000-gallon bolted steel storage tank

Kingbrook Rural Water, Inc. is a regional water provider in eastern South Dakota, serving approximately 4,950 residential, livestock, and commercial users in more than 11 counties. They serve customers from three different water treatment plants located approximately 50 miles from each other. The treatment plants are located in rural areas near the small towns of Bruce, De Smet and Chester, SD. The original system construction happened in the late 70’s and early 80’s. All three treatment plants were expanded in the 90’s and early 2000’s to meet their growing needs.

In the mid-2000’s, DGR Engineering (DGR) and Kingbrook began developing a long-range plan to interconnect their three treatment plants with large diameter transmission mains. The goal of the plan was to provide another level of backup at each treatment plant in case of an emergency. This emergency planning was in addition to the typical approach for systems to have standby generation, backup pumps, etc. Another goal of the plan was to provide operational flexibility by having two sources that could serve any of their subsystems. Each year, an annual planning event is held to review system operations, new growth trends, and changes in existing customer demands. The plan is updated and modified to meet the current and future needs of the system.

Approximately every four to five years, these plans are combined into a project that not only improves the system for existing customers, but also extends rural water service to new customers. Conducting systematic expansion projects results in regular improvement of the system. It also allows the utility to make the most efficient investments in their system by taking advantage of low-interest loans, grants, and economies of scale when bidding out multiple improvements and new connections as one large project. In the past 15 years, Kingbrook has installed about 50 miles of transmission mains between their treatment plants, but still needed about 25 miles between Bruce and De Smet to complete the long-range planning goal of connecting their water treatment plants.


Kingbrook began planning their current expansion project in 2015. Tremendous demand for new service connections made this expansion project the largest expansion project ever undertaken by Kingbrook. Much of the additional water demand was located within the De Smet plant service area that couldn’t be met with the existing system’s transmission capacity. Previous projects had increased elevated storage capability in the De Smet plant service area and connected with the Chester plant. But more capacity was needed to serve the new customers.

Our Approach
DGR began by helping Kingbrook optimize the De Smet treatment plant. Highly variable iron concentrations from their north well field made chemical dosing problematic. Kingbrook optimized the treatment efficiency of the plant by changing oxidants and moving the chemical dosing locations. These changes extended the filter runtime, reduced the overall chemical requirements of the plant, and increased production capacity.

Next, the existing storage capacity at the De Smet treatment plant only had about three and a half hours of peak demand storage, which made plant operation difficult. Kingbrook selected a two-phase process to build one 630,000-gallon tank now, which will increase on-site storage to about eight hours, and build a second tank as part of a future project, when demand increases.

Finally, DGR designed pipeline that would serve the new customers and complete the interconnection to Kingbrook’s third water source near Bruce. When complete, this project will add approximately 190 miles of pipe for system improvements and new services, as well as approximately 25 miles of 12, 14, and
16-inch diameter pipeline to interconnect the Bruce plant with
the De Smet plant.

The project is was finished in the summer of 2019. This project
not only meets the needs of new customers who signed up on
this expansion project, but it also achieved a major milestone
of Kingbrook’s long-range planning – the interconnection of
their water sources to improve system reliability and flexibility
of operations.

Pipeline Construction

October 12, 2018

Construction of the North Core Pipeline project consisted of approximately 70 miles of pipeline from near Ft. Pierre to Philip, four ground storage reservoirs, and four pump stations.  The project included 12-inch through 16-inch diameter pipe, valves, stream crossings, and miscellaneous appurtenant work.  The pipeline route followed the route of Highways 14/34 with some cross-country segments.  Stream crossings were installed using a directional boring method as to avoid disturbance to fish and wildlife.  The pipeline system was designed for over 1,700 gpm and brought water service to rural customers and small communities in western South Dakota.