City Commission Supports Pursuit of a State-Owned Carbon Dioxide Storage Facility

During its Jan. 17 meeting, the City Commission approved supporting a collaborative effort to procure funding for a state-owned carbon dioxide storage facility in an effort to maintain a long-term affordable and reliable source of carbon dioxide.

Carbon dioxide is a vital component in the City’s water treatment process, and is becoming increasingly expensive and hard to obtain.

How is carbon dioxide used to treat drinking water? Carbon dioxide is used to adjust the pH and optimize the corrosion control for the water treatment plant and distribution system. Water without added carbon dioxide is high pH, high alkaline and likely has particulate deposits, which can cause damage to the distribution system.

There are 19 other water treatment facilities in the state of North Dakota supporting the pursuit of a state-owned storage facility.

Water Treatment Superintendent Duane Friesz explained to Commission that the City had three entities submitting bids to supply carbon dioxide a few years ago, however in 2018 the number of suppliers decreased to one. The following year, the sole supplier notified Mandan and other major cities in North Dakota of a business model change that would no longer supply the water treatment plants with carbon dioxide. At that time, American Welding & Gas (AWG) stepped up to distribute carbon dioxide to North Dakota’s water treatment facilities. Shortly after AWG took over, Dakota Gasification became their certified supplier of food grade carbon dioxide. Unfortunately, scheduled and unscheduled shutdowns at Dakota Gasification has led to an unstable supply of carbon dioxide at a substantial increase in cost.

Without a state storage facility to provide supply when Dakota Gasification is shut down there is a risk of running out of available carbon dioxide which would negatively impact the ability to properly treat Mandan’s drinking water.

The City currently stores carbon dioxide at the water treatment plant, and while there are no immediate concerns on the City’s supply, it is time to take action to make sure it remains that way.