New Cass Lake treatment system nears completion
The final walk through for a new water treatment plant built by the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe is scheduled for 11 a.m. today near the Palace Casino and Hotel at Cass Lake.
The tribal residents living within Tract 33, adjacent to the City of Cass Lake and the surrounding area, have been served by a combination of individual wells, small cluster systems, and one larger public water system. None of the systems provided water treatment.
John Fairbanks, tribal engineer, said the project allows the Band to consolidate water systems and provide “high quality water through adding a water treatment facility.”
About 60 percent of an estimated 280 homes connected to the system are hooked up to the water treatment system and the remaining homes will be hooked up next spring, Fairbanks said.
“It’s been a high priority for the reservation for quite some time,” he said Tuesday.
Planning for the nearly $4.2 million project, funded through the USDA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, began in 2001.
About 10 miles of pipe were installed to connect Tract 33 and the surrounding areas into a single water system, along with the first well drilled, in August 2009. A 250,000-gallon elevated tank was finished in September 2010.
Bemidji Area Indian Health Service, USDA – Rural Development, Corps of Engineers and EAPC Engineering and Architects collaborated on the project with the Leech Lake Band.
The tribe also is finishing up a similar project next week in Inger.