If you drive past the Minot Water Treatment Plant this week, you might notice a large piece of heavy equipment working in the Souris River.
It’s okay. The backhoe is supposed to be there.
City of Minot Assistant Public Works Director Jason Sorenson said the N.D. State Water Commission compiled a list of low head dams in North Dakota in 2019 and rated them for safety. Five low head dams in Minot were identified as medium to high priorities for remediation, including the one by the water treatment plant where work is under way.
Water rushing over the dams and falling four to six feet creates an under current called a roller effect, which causes human safety risks. If a person were to fall into the river and get caught up in the roller effect, it could be deadly.
“Essentially, they’re filling in that space with riprap riffles so the water doesn’t drop down so far, which will help eliminate the dangerous roller effect,” Sorenson said.
Wagner Construction was the low bidder for the project at a cost of $261,140. Sorenson said 75 percent of the cost will be reimbursed by the state. The work could take up to a week to complete.