The 210-foot-high yellow crane dominates the construction site of Pierre's water treatment plant in the northwest end of Steamboat Park. The John C. Waldron highway bridge stretches over the Missouri River to Fort Pierre. The plant will take water from the river, using a pumping station that is being built on the north side of the highway bridge and south of the railroad bridge seen in the distance.

The $37.5 million Pierre drinking water treatment plant — the biggest project in the city’s modern history — is $100,000 closer to reality, thanks to the Central Plains Water Development District.

“To the best of my knowledge, the drinking water treatment project is the biggest local public investment in Pierre’s history,” Pierre Mayor Steve Harding stated via a Tuesday news release. “I’m very thankful the water district shares our excitement for the project and is sharing the investment with us.”

Lynnette Eckert is the district’s manager.

“Our goal is clean reliable water,” Eckert said. “We are pleased to contribute to this major project that will ensure modern water service for decades to come.”

In June 2018, voters living in Pierre were asked if city officials should spend more than $37 million to replace its current well system with a drinking water treatment facility. More than 70% of voters said yes.

After two years of planning and design, in August 2020, officials broke ground on a $37.5 million treatment facility located on the western edge of Pierre. The project is scheduled for completion in 2022.

The district is a member of the South Dakota Rural Water Association. Its mission is to provide assistance for economic development, irrigation, water conservation, water supply, lake restoration, recreation, flood control, watershed management, erosion control, and water quality through water system development.

The Central Plains Water Development District includes Faulk, Hughes, Hyde, Sully and Potter Counties. Representing those counties on the District Board are Greg Lorenz, Ron Crain, Eric Monson, Steve Hinker, and Russell Anderson.

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