Feds Say Move of Standing Rock Water Intake on Track for May 31 Completion


Protest organizer Kristen Kelsch hold a sign and chants across the street from the State Capitol in Bismarck on Thursday. A line of police prevented Kelsch and others from hold the protest to the Dakota Access Pipeline on the Capitol grounds

Locations of the Dakota Access Pipeline crossing (orange), as well as the current water intake for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and the new intake near Mobridge (green).

A big part of the #NoDAPL protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline circled around the water intake for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe which is currently in the Lake Oahe reservoir near Fort Yates, North Dakota.

That’s kind of near where DAPL will cross the reservoir when completed.

But in September of last year I reported that a long-term project through the Federal Bureau of Reclamation was moving that intake some 70 miles south to a spot near Mobridge, South Dakota (see map to the left).

At the time I spoke with Dave Rosencranz, the Dakotas Area manger for the Federal Bureau of Reclamation. He told me that currently the Standing Rock community is being served by two Missouri River water intakes but that the Fort Yates intake, which is nearest the Dakota Access Pipeline crossing, is slated to be shut down.

“There’s been a lot of issues with that intake,” Rosencranz told me, referring to the Fort Yates facility. “It’s just time to replace it. It’s basically at the end of its life.”

I also spoke with Bureau of Reclamation engineer Tom Thompson who said that the Fort Yates intake and water treatment facility was built in the 1960’s and would “cost more more than it’s worth” to fix it. He told me the Mobridge intake and treatment plant are already operating and serving a part of the Standing Rock community, but will hopefully soon be serving all of it.

They told me the project was expected to be completed by the end of 2016.

Yesterday a SAB reader contacted me to ask what the status of this project was, so I re-contacted Thompson today and he said the intake move hasn’t been completed yet.

“The completion is scheduled for May 31,” he said, adding that was “the deadline all along.”

He said when we talked in September they were ahead of schedule and touting an early completion date of December 31. Thompson said weather and delays in building a vault for the water pipeline meant they were back to the project’s original completion date.

“Such is life in the northern country,” he said, adding that they “should be able” to make the May completion deadline.

But still, the water intake for Standing Rock will be moved a long way from where DAPL is crossing Lake Oahe.