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Double duty: Fargo's sewage plant needs twice the capacity to handle region's growth

Fargo's sewage plant on the north end of Broadway by the Red River is seen here in a 2017 aerial photo provided by the city. Special to The Forum

FARGO — The city has embarked on a project that would double the capacity of the sewage treatment plant both to cope with a growing population and in anticipation of more regional cities sending their waste here.

Fargo leaders gave the OK in December to begin planning the next phase of the upgrades, estimated to cost $25 million. Apex Engineering Group got a $1.7 million contract to do the engineering and design.

Some of these upgrades would allow the city to meet obligations it has to the city of West Fargo, which agreed in May to a 20-year deal to have the city of Fargo treat its sewage.

More upgrades are ahead with two more phases planned between 2019 and 2021, estimated to cost a total of $100 million. The state will finance the project at low interest, and the city of Fargo will repay the money with utility fees and sales taxes.

Currently, the sewage plant along Broadway, on the city's far north end, can treat 15 million gallons a day with a peak flow of 25 million gallons a day. The population served, which includes Fargo and several smaller towns such as Horace and Oxbow, totals about 135,000.

After 2021, the plant should be able to treat 29 million gallons a day with a peak flow of 50 million gallons in case of rainstorms or floods, according to Wastewater Utility Director Jim Hausauer. The population it can serve will increase to 271,000.

This upcoming phase will bring new equipment to the sewage plant, including a centrifuge to remove liquid from West Fargo's sewage faster and ultraviolet treatment equipment that will kill bacteria faster and safer than the chlorine the city now uses, Hausauer said.

These upgrades are needed quickly to treat 2.5 million gallons a day from West Fargo by the end of 2018. The city will be able to send more sewage by mid-2021 for a daily average of 6.5 million gallons.

To get there, the sewage plant will need more equipment and new facilities to house that equipment, all of which are expected in the next two phases.

Tu-Uyen Tran
Tran is an enterprise reporter with the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. He began his newspaper career in 1999 as a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald, now owned by Forum Communications. He began working for the Forum in September 2014. Tran grew up in Seattle and graduated from the University of Washington.
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