The Great Water & Sewer Project at McLaughlin

August 8th, 2013
There has been a bit of second guessing and complaining about the water and sewer project that is going on at McLaughlin. People have complained to Lornie Hach, the water superintendent at McLaughlin. Some have sent notes in with their City Bill complaining about it. A number have just complained in person to anyone that would listen. I have been a little put out by things like the surcharge that has been added to my bill on top of the increases we have seen in the bill itself. I drove by the pile of pipes that the crew has been taking out the other day and decided to take a further look at it. For the average readers benefit I have included some of those pictured in this week's paper.

Some of the pipes look nice and clean. Some look really rusty but are sound as close as I can guess just by looking. But there are some that look as thought they, as the old saying goes, wouldn't hold water. There aren't many of these, perhaps fewer than 15-20% of the pipes are in that shape. You can't just dig up the system and replace a pipe here and a pipe there. If you are going to overhaul the system, you need to overhaul the system.

There are several reasons for having to do the project now instead of waiting until they start having more serious breaks in the system. One reason is that when they have breaks, the breaks usually occur in the dead of winter. That is because there is more stress on the system in the middle of the winter. As the ground freezes there are heaves in the ground that stress the pipes. Also as trees go dormant they put all their energy so to speak, into their roots and the root system grows causing stress to the pipes.

Another reason for doing it now is that the Standing Rock Rural Water System will soon be starting to supply McLaughlin with water. The five million gallon water tank out along Kenel road will provide much more water pressure than before and that additional water pressure would literally explode some of these old pipes. The entire town of McLaughlin could find itself without water in the dead of winter for an extended period of time. That would not be good and those that are complaining about their increased bill now would be complaining much more and instead of having a little increase now would find themselves with a much larger bill for having to do the work on an emergency basis in the middle of winter.

So those of you that are not convinced, take a look for yourself. Forget about the instability of the pipes, just imagine taking a drink of water from one of those pipes. That should convince you!

Corson/Sioux County News-Messenger