Funding approved to upgrade Oldham’s water system, consolidate with Kingbrook

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Gov. Kristi Noem reported June 25 that the Board of Water and Natural Resources has approved an additional $400,000 in loan funds for Kingbrook Rural Water System to consolidate Oldham’s water system into the rural water system and make improvements to the town’s drinking water system.

The board had previously awarded $1.245 million loan with $945,000 of principal forgiveness for the project. The additional loan funds include a $400,000 increased Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loan with $304,000 in principal forgiveness. Loan terms are 2.25 percent for 30 years.

The loan will be administered through the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources and will cover the estimated project cost.

“I am pleased to announce Kingbrook Rural Water System will receive this assistance,” said Noem. “The loan will allow Kingsbrook to finish making needed upgrades to Oldham’s drinking water system and ensure the residents of Oldham have a reliable and safe water supply.”

Since 2014, Oldham has had difficulty retaining a certified drinking water operator and has suffered significant, unaccounted for water loss from their aging distribution system. The city’s existing distribution system has an asbestos cement mainline from the 1960’s. As part of the consolidation, Kingbrook Rural Water will replace the existing system with new PVC piping and new meter pits, and they will be responsible for system operation and maintenance.

The state of South Dakota and the United States Environmental Protection Agency fund the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Program, which provides low-interest loans for public drinking water system projects. Principal forgiveness is a subsidy option that results in a reduced loan payment amount for the borrower.

According to Kingbrook office management, Prunty Construction of Brookings has begun work in Oldham, but work is on hold for a few days because of heavy rain in the area June 25-26 and the July 4 holiday. The projected substantial completion date is sometime in October.

Kingbrook has already been providing water to Oldham, but the city was Kingbrook’s customer and residents were billed by the city. With the changes, each customer will become a member with their own meter pit and will receive a water bill from Kingbrook. Besides all new main water lines, improvements will be made to the city’s water tower. The city of Oldham will still bill residents for sewer and garbage.

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