- Associated Press - Friday, January 1, 2016

ST. JOHN, N.D. (AP) - The community of St. John in Rolette County is counting on a recently authorized federal grant to be able to restore its water supply.

The more than $50,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development agency will be used to drill a new well after one of the community’s wells dried up in September, forcing officials to run the city’s secondary well at full capacity, the Bismarck Tribune (https://bit.ly/1R8Rqtz ) reported. The wells supply water to 147 homes and businesses, and revenue from water bills is used to pay for maintenance.

“This one well cannot produce the quantity of water required to meet the needs of the city of St. John,” said Kathleen Langan, the city councilwoman who wrote the grant application.

The now-dry well was drilled in 1969 and replaced in 1985. The city built a water treatment plant two years later because the water of the 1985 well turned out having high levels of iron, manganese and sulfate. The well casing now has several holes and its water became unusable after wet conditions over the past couple of years caused sediments to seep in and plugged the screen.

“Water is an essential resource, so Rural Development is proud to financially support St. John in their time of need,” Ryan Taylor, the state director for the USDA Rural Development agency, said in a statement. “Responding quickly to the community’s request, this investment will help secure a reliable water supply.”

Mayor Norah Gable said the city is hoping the grant will cover the full cost of drilling the new well because the community has a small budget.

Gable said some roads need new gravel and the senior center needs repairs. She said the community recently replaced fire hydrants, but water lines are constantly having problems because they are old.

“That’s costly for a small town,” she said.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, https://www.bismarcktribune.com

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