Fertilizer plant looks to Bismarck for water

Fertilizer plant looks to Bismarck for water

February 17, 2015

"Without water, a proposed fertilizer plant near Jamestown can't be built.

CHS Inc. announced in late 2014 it would continue with plans to construct a $3 billion fertilizer plant to open in 2018. Since then, it has failed to find a local source of water to operate it. Its next option is a pipeline to the Missouri River.

"We’ve been through a lot of scenarios looking for water, but we haven’t found one we’ve been able to finalize," John Traeger, president of Cenex Pipeline LLC, who met with the Bismarck City Commission to get its approval to study the possibility of a pipeline project.

"We're committed to the project. We just have to get a committed water source," said Traeger, adding that, if the pipeline doesn't work, CHS will continue to look for other options.

In addition to using an estimated 88,000 MM British thermal units per day of natural gas and 40 megawatts per day of electricity, the plant is expected to use 4,000 to 5,000 gallons per minute of water.

CHS tried to get permits to use water from aquifers around Jamestown, Traeger said. The State Water Commission, which evaluates the availability of water and issues permits, said many of the water rights for the area already had been allocated. 

Traeger said the next step was to consider design changes that would decrease the amount of water needed and allow the plant to treat and re-use water from other area operations. A combination of the amount of water still needed and the price of the changes and treatment were too much, he said.

Traeger said it was determined that CHS could build a pipeline to transport water from the Missouri River for a lesser price."

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