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Sidney Circle Water System Improvements

Dry-Redwater Regional Water Authority (DRWA) has been expanding its presence in Richland County since the completion of their first project south of Sidney in September 2014. The “Sidney South” waterline terminated north of the subdivisions in which the latest project intended to serve using the City of Sidney as their interim water source. The Sidney Circle Water System Improvements project is DRWA’s third construction campaign to date to bring quality water to rural residents in Eastern Montana.

Nestled just west of Sidney, Montana, along State Highway 200, the project looked to serve the residents located in and around the Sidney Circle Subdivisions previously serviced by either two public wells drilled in the 80s for the Sidney Circle Homeowners Association, or by individual private wells. The original drain fields, wells, and adjunct water and sewer mains installed during the subdivisions inception were never fully installed to handle the capacity of the growing subdivisions they were intended to serve, leaving the current subdivisions and residents in search of sustainable infrastructure that could help facilitate the growth of their community.

The first step towards the goal of sustainable infrastructure came through DRWA’s Sidney Circle Water System Improvements project constructed during the 2018-19 seasons. Full water main replacements were completed for Sidney Circle 1 & 2 and Schillings 2nd Homesites Subdivisions. With new water main extensions being installed for the adjacent Shillings 1st Homesites, Goss Homesites, and portions of Green Acres Subdivision located along County Road 348. The new extensions allowed rural residents on individual private wells the opportunity to connect to a reliable and quality water supply, eliminating the unknowns and maintenance headaches associated with well ownership. In total, the project included 11,700 linear feet of 6-inch PVC water main and provided service to 53 rural water users dispersed throughout the six subdivisions. In addition to the nearly 2.25 miles of new water main, the project also included the installation of a prefabricated water booster station capable of servicing the aforementioned subdivisions and aid as a stepping stone for future expansions westward in the mission to serve additional residences and communities across Eastern Montana plagued by poor water quality and quantity.

Western Municipal Construction of Billings, Montana, began water mainline construction in June 2018. The construction method of choice was an open-cut installation accounting for 90% of the 11,700 linear feet of mainline construction. The remaining 10%, approximately 1,200 linear feet, was completed via horizontal directional drilling methods for water mains installed along and across Richland County’s County Road 348.

A “cartridge loading” style was used for the installation of the PVC restrained joint bell to minimize impacts to surrounding residents. Subservice Construction of Nowthen, Minnesota, was able to honor this request. In conventional drilling methods, large tail ditches are excavated to accommodate the max bending radius and joint deflections allowed for a respective material. Long runs of fused or jointed water main are then strung out behind the tail ditch, upwards of 600 linear feet, before being pulled into place. “Cartridge loading” installation implements a localized access pit for single pipe insertion and jointing, eliminating joint stressing and fatigue found with improper tail ditches while minimizing surface disturbances and impacts to the surrounding community, making it the preferred option of installation for the rural/urban setting where the work was being performed.

Water mainline construction wrapped up in October 2018 just as the prefabricated water booster station supplied by Dakota Pump was nearing its arrival date. November 14, 2018, marked the topping out of the project with the arrival of the water booster station. Equipped with one 5-hp, two 2-hp, and room for an additional two 15-hp Grundfos vertical multi-stage centrifugal pumps, the station was tested and placed into service on November 30, 2018, supplying water to residents within the subdivisions. This prefabricated water booster station was designed and furnished with a full supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system provided by Micro-Comm, an 80kW Cummins diesel backup generator, and a stacked internal piping configuration to accommodate both a low-pressure and high-pressure discharge outlet for future build-outs.
The subdivisions are currently being supplied via the low-pressure discharge outlet, facilitated by three primary pumps at approximately 95 psi to accommodate for the 50 vertical feet of elevation gain across the subdivision. The area requires moderately high pressure to effectively service users at their elevation. DRWA equipped all connections with a tandem duel set meter pit containing a pressure reducing valve to counteract the pressure. The valve allows DRWA’s operators the capability to manually adjust pressure for individual users and mitigate the risk of overburdening existing plumbing.

Future expansions and routes for an ever-expanding DRWA infrastructure are in the preliminary stages of design and planning. The booster station was designed with dual functionality for aiding in future build-outs and water mainline extensions. The addition of two 15-hp pumps capable of pushing water through an 18-inch ductile iron mainline more than 200 psi could be furnished to provide the necessary quantity and pressure of water for the first leg of the journey to service residents and communities located west of Sidney. The capabilities of the newly installed booster station in Sidney Circle Subdivision assure that the up and coming rural water authority is not hand-cuffed in their exploits for providing access to “reliable, safe, high-quality water” for rural residents and communities throughout Richland, Dawson, McCone, and Garfield counties.

Construction was completed in the Spring of 2019 with a total project cost of $4.11 million. Richland County, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC), and the Montana State Revolving Fund (SRF) provided the project funding.

Sidney Circle Water System Improvements Project Team

Jordan Mayer, PE – Project Engineer
Lowell Cutshaw, PE – Project Engineer
Spencer VanWichen, EI – Staff Engineer/Field RPR
Wendy Johnson – Administrative Assistant
Jacqueline Miller – Drafter
Josh Schmierer – Drafter/Surveyor
Chris DiFonzo – Field RPR/Surveyor