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Fort Thompson Could Run Out Of Water

June 23, 2011, 6:57 AM by Kelly Bartnick

Fort Thompson Could Run Out Of Water
FORT THOMPSON, SD - Fort Thompson residents have been asked to conserve water this week. The rising Missouri River is creating some big problems with the town's drinking water system.

"This is the type of sand that's coming up from the river," water treatment plant supervisor Don Big Eagle said. 

Big Eagle is working nearly around the clock trying to unclog the water plant intake filters. And even then, he can't always keep them clear.

"We alternate the two filters because during the day we run the one that has older modules. During the night we run newer modules so that we can just keep up with water," Big Eagle said.

He usually cleans the filters once every 45 days. Now, he does it three times each day. The town has put water restrictions in place. If resident's don't conserve water, Big Eagle fears the town's taps could run dry.

"It's something definitely to be concerned about. It's kind of an oxymoron with all the flooding and we're about to be without drinking water," Allen Milk, who works in Fort Thompson, said. 

Three-thousand residents could be without water. Though for now, thanks to some last-minute upgrades, the system is barely keeping up.

"All my relatives live here and I work here. So it's a big concern,' Milk said.

City and Tribal Officials are still working on a more permanent plan to handle the issue. They've met with officials from the Army Corps of Engineers and legislators to help solve the problem.

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