Fargo officials visit area to talk flood control

Louise Oleson, Editor
Fargo City Commissioner Dr. Tim Mahoney went through the major floods Fargo has experienced through the years and the need for permanent flood protection for their community.

At the special meeting of the Devils Lake City Commission held Wednesday at 10 a.m. two officials from Fargo learned more about Devils Lake’s flooding and shared their own plans for flood control for their community.

Fargo City Administrator Pat Zavoral and City Commissioner Dr. Tim Mahoney found support and understanding when they visited Devils Lake this week.

In a relaxed, conversational meeting with the city commission, the visiting pair heard about what Devils Lake has been doing first to obtain a new water source and treatment plant for the city and second to fight the on-going flooding experienced in the area for the last 17 years.

City Commissioners Rick Morse and Tim Heisler and Mayor Dick Johnson added their comments to Grafsgaard’s presentation.

Then Mahoney and Zavoral gave their presentation using  Powerpoint to highlight the proposed flood protection plan for the Fargo/Moorhead area.

Mahoney expressed his fondness for the Lake Region adding that his father had been mayor here for many years, and this was his home growing up.

He and Zavoral talked about the past floods in the Red River Valley and pledged their support for the Lake Region and its fight for flood control.

“Your fight can’t wait another six feet,” Mahoney said.

“You need to find a way to stabilize this lake for your sake and all of ours downstream.”

“We’re all in this together,” Zavoral articulated.

He emphasized the effects being felt downstream of increased flows into and rising sulfate levels in the Sheyenne River.

“We use water from the Sheyenne as our drinking water only a couple of times a year, when the quality of the Red is lowest,” Mahoney said.

The concensus was that a treatment facility to improve the water quality would solve much of the downstream concerns.

“Treating the water at the point of use is a much better option than treating it at the point of discharge,” Grafsgaard explained. He encouraged Zavoral and Mahoney to provide their comments and concerns to the President’s task force studying Devils Lake and charged with coming up with recommendations for short-term and long-term flood solutions.

“Most floods come and go, yours comes and stays. Ours comes and goes, comes and goes, comes and goes,” Mahoney said.

“We understand what you’re going through and are willing to support your efforts at stabilizing Devils Lake.”

Following the conversation with Mahoney and Zavoral, the commission had one other item of business to accomplish at the special meeting.

They voted to enter into an agreement with the Williston Basin Pipeline to move a portion of the high pressure pipeline adjacent to the city’s embankment. It will cost an estimated $1.3M and the city pays for it up front, but is part of the project and must be done for Phase One to go forward.

Smoking ordinance ready

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Devils Lake City Commission will be Monday, Aug. 16 where one of the items to be tackled will be the city’s proposed smoking ordinance. That ordinance is now available on the city’s website at www.ci.devils-lake.nd.us.

All comments and changes to the proposed ordinance must be directed to one of the city commission members. The commissioners encourage public input and welcome their comments regarding the ordinance.