Leech Lake tribe moves forward with new water treatment plants

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The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe is making progress on serving more tribal communities with municipal water treatment plants.

A plant came on-line this week that will serve residents living in a neighborhood known as Tract 33, adjacent to the City of Cass Lake. About 60 percent of an estimated 280 homes are already hooked up to the water system. The rest will be connected next spring, according to Tribal Engineer John Fairbanks.

Until now, those homes have been served by a combination of individual wells, small cluster systems and one larger public water system, none of which provided residents with treated water.

“It’s been a high priority for the reservation for quite some time,” Fairbanks told the Bemidji Pioneer.

The system cost nearly $4.2 million, and includes funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Planning on the project began 10 years ago.

The new system includes about 10 miles of pipe and a 250,000 gallon elevated tank.

The Leech Lake Band is expected to complete a similar water treatment project next week in the tribal community of Inger.

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