Town of Box Elder granted $12 million in loans to address water issues

BOX ELDER, SD – Sometimes Box Elder is a place with too much water…

Water – almost waist deep in some places – is flooding the backyards and basements of residences at Raider Pointe, Box Elder, Friday, July 1, 2022. (Darsha Nelson, NewsCenter1)

… or not enough

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In its effort to fix aging infrastructure, the city of Box Elder asked the state of South Dakota for help — and got it.

“WE ARE EXCITED ABOUT THIS”

In late September, the South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR) provided nearly $13 million in loans to the town of Box Elder, part of the $167.2 million in grants and loans approved for environmental projects across the state.

The city received a $6,261,000 loan from the state’s Clean Water Revolving Fund. Half of this loan principal will be canceled by DANR, while the rest is paid at 2.125% for 30 years.

“Specifically in this portion, $3.2 million of this will be principal loan forgiveness, which will go a long way to keeping our future city sewer and water rates – or service charges – down. at a minimum,” said Matthew Connor, public information officer for the City of Box Elder.

In addition, they received a $6,630,000 loan from the state’s clean water revolving fund at 1.625% over 30 years.

PLANNED PROJECTS

These funds are intended for drinking water, drinking water and sanitary sewer projects – such as the Cheyenne Boulevard Sewer.

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A map of Box Elder’s infrastructure projects

They will add liners to water tanks, replace leaky water distribution pipes and add pump controls and chlorination units for Well 7.

Connor says other projects include the Westgate Sewer and the South Box Elder Sewer, which involve sewer line extensions and the expansion of existing water lines.

Box Elder’s infrastructure projects can be viewed here: Box Elder Geospatial Information System

THE NEED

Box Elder had problems with water pipes and wells, including cracks in old cast iron pipes and leaks that eventually burst. The City says this work is necessary, not only to support current residents, but also to ensure they can keep pace with the expected growth.

“It goes a long way in equipping the city to move forward and be ready for this growing population,” Connor said. “We are delighted with that.”

Connor says Box Elder has seen a 5% increase in population growth per year for the past four to five years, which the current infrastructure was not designed to handle.

Housing developments – and population growth – require a stable water supply and sewage infrastructure. The City says the highest priority project is the Cheyenne Boulevard Main Sewer Extension.

“Once we have completed the main sewer installation, we can build the connecting road between Box Elder and Rapid City – and this will open up this western part of Box Elder to many housing and commercial developments,” said Connor.

TIME & MONEY

With the expected B-21 population growth and general immigration that South Dakota has experienced in recent years, Box Elder is on a good schedule to complete these infrastructure projects.

“The peak of these new staff coming into the city won’t be until 2025…2026,” Connor said. “That gives us a year or two to prepare all these sewage projects and the water and drinking water projects.”

Connor also adds that the increased cost of water and sewer services will be “[kept]… at a minimum” due to the abandonment of loans by the State.

“These loans and the loan forgiveness will go a long way in keeping those rates lower, because at any point in the infrastructure – in the municipal infrastructure – there is a socialized sharing of the cost among all the users of this system,” said added Connor.

Once plans for these projects are developed, Connor says, an announcement regarding the increased service fee will be made.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News

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