City Faces Busy Infrastructure Year

Work is progressing on Yankton’s new water plant. Meanwhile, work is also being done to prepare for the decommissioning of the 1929 water plant facility, located near the foot of the Discovery Bridge. To view a video, visit

A busy year is ahead for infrastructure projects in Yankton, even as some long-term developments start to wrap up in the city.

This year, as work concludes on the city’s water plant expansion, attention will turn to the aging wastewater treatment plant as well as repairing damage it sustained during the 2019 bomb cyclone.

Director of Environmental Services Kyle Goodmanson told the Press & Dakotan that, while mostly done, some issues have arisen at the new water treatment facility.

“The plant itself is about 95% complete,” Goodmanson said. “We’re just tying up some of the little things. We do have a couple of issues with some of the equipment that we’re still working through, so we’re not up at 100% yet.”

He said measures are being taken to rectify the issues.

“Some pieces of equipment aren’t working to specification, so we’re working with the contractor and the supplier to fix those things,” he said. “We’ve got a couple areas of the plant where we thought we’d have good mixing of the water … we’re not getting good mixing, so we’ll be installing some static mixers.”

Goodmanson said hopes are to have the plant running at full capacity in the next month or two, with distribution into the water system beginning in the next three weeks. Water stopped being treated at the old 1929 water plant late in 2019.

Meanwhile, he said that other work will continue throughout the spring to bring the water plant project to a close.

“They’ll be coming in this spring and finishing up the landscaping around the plant,” he said. “There’s still a couple of pieces of sidewalk they’ve still got to complete, but for the most part, everything should get finished up fairly early this spring on the water plant.”

The city is planning on holding a public open house sometime in the spring to celebrate the plant’s completion.

In the meantime, Goodmanson added that the city should be prepared to receive another notice of higher-than-normal THM (trihalomethanes) levels in the city’s drinking water.

“We should see those numbers come down substantially with the new facility,” he said. “The issue with that is with the MCL (maximum containment levels) for your THMs is a four-quarter average, so you test every quarter and they average the last four quarters. To get our number down, even with better numbers, you’re still going to see that average running high until we can get some of those other quarters to fall off.”

He said there could be two or three more THM level notifications going out before numbers fall. A combination of switching over to well water exclusively and using more up to date technology will largely eliminate THMs from the city’s drinking water.

As a shiny new water treatment plant begins to produce consumable water, the city will be turning more focus to the other end of the cycle at its aging wastewater treatment facility.

Goodmanson said the condition assessment the City Commission approved last year is on pause as officials pursue relief funding for some wastewater projects.

“There were some Economic Development Administration (EDA) funds that became available from the March 2019 flood,” he said. “We’ve got a grant application in for several projects.”

If the grants are approved, work would include underground pipe replacement as well as a full wastewater treatment plant master plan, collection system modeling and master plan, and a distribution system model.

“We’ve gotten some positive reviews from EDA on that grant but have not been awarded that money yet,” he said. “They’ve asked us for a second round of information that we’re in the process of getting put together right now and sending”

If approved, the projects would begin this summer and planning documents would be completed in the next year or two.

Other plans call for the filling of a sinkhole on the wastewater property as well as some new pumps and a new generator.

On the roadway side of the infrastructure spectrum, a number of large projects are slated throughout the city.

Public Works Director Adam Haberman told the Press & Dakotan that these projects include:

• Riverside Dr. from Broadway Ave.-Green St. — This project entails street reconstruction, curb and gutter, water main, sanitary sewer and storm sewer replacement. The project had originally been slated for 2019, but was pushed back a year as a cost-saving measure following the March flood.

• 5th St. from Broadway Ave.-Green St. — This project entails curb and gutter and pavement replacement.

• 12th St. from Douglas Ave.-Mulberry St. — This project entails curb and gutter, and pavement replacement.

• Pine St. from 10th St.-15th St. — This project entails curb and gutter, and pavement replacement.

He added that the street department will also have a number of small projects — such as pavement maintenance and chip sealing — to tackle throughout the summer. These will be announced at a later date.

None of the street projects have currently been bid out.

“Some of them, we’ll get the bids advertised and the plans sent out in the next month or two,” Haberman said. “They’ll be bid and ready to go so that, as soon as the weather breaks, the contractors can begin if they wish. A lot of the projects will depend on when the contractors want to begin them.”

He added that weather is likely to play a factor in how the projects progress throughout the 2020 construction season.

“The ground is pretty wet already and, depending on the spring we have, if the moisture pattern continues the way it is, we may have some difficulties,” he said. “We’ll just have to work through that as it comes.”

The Huether Family Aquatics Center, where demolition officially began this week with tree removal, will also be an ongoing project throughout 2020. It’s anticipated to open in 2021.

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