Brookings-Deuel Rural Water System

“Rural water is the greatest thing to come along since the rural electric and telephone.” That’s what one original customer of the Brookings-Deuel Rural Water System said after being hooked up to rural water in the early 1970s.

The need for a better water supply was first discussed around kitchen tables of local farmers – people working together to solve a common problem: a lack of quality water in area wells. Many wells were very high in iron (causing rust stains in laundry and sinks), manganese (causing dark stains), and nitrates from fertilizers and septic systems. It was very common on farms and in towns for people to have a cistern and pay to have water hauled in to fill them.

Brookings-Deuel was started as a steering committee in 1972. In 1973, DeWild Grant Reckert and Associates (DGR) was hired as Brookings-Deuel’s engineering firm, and the company still serves the system today. Brookings-Deuel RWS was incorporated in 1974, and a 16 member board was created. Today the system has a seven member board. The original system was built in two phases – Phase I was the south end of the system, constructed in 1976, and Phase II was the north end of the system, constructed in 1977. 1978 marked the first year of full production.

The original system consisted of about 1,000 hook-ups and 800 miles of pipeline. Over the years, system growth has been steady. All 13 towns located within the system’s borders are now hooked up to Brookings-Deuel. Water systems were installed in Goodwin, Altamont and Labolt as part of Phase II construction, and the rest of the towns have hooked on one at a time, with Astoria being the last town to hook up in 2006.

Livestock demand has always been an important part of the system. Rural water has allowed many livestock operations to grow with the access to more volume. Besides normal livestock usage, Brookings-Deuel RWS also serves five commercial dairies and two colonies that have turkey and swine operations. With the exception of normal ongoing expansion, there were larger user expansion projects in 1982, 1984, 1992 and 2006.

Brookings-Deuel RWS has two well fields. One is the Clear Lake plant north of Clear Lake, and the other is the Joint Wellfield north of Bruce. Generally, the Clear Lake plant serves the north half of the system and the Joint Wellfield serves the south half of the system. Both plants have pressure filters for removal of iron and manganese. The Clear Lake plant’s maximum capacity is 1.6 million gallons per day (MGD) and the Joint Wellfield’s capacity is 3.2 MGD. The Joint Wellfield is unique in the fact that Brookings-Deuel RWS owns it jointly with Kingbrook RWS. Both systems were being constructed around the same time and the partnership has been in place since day one. The Joint Wellfield is a separate entity and has its own board of directors consisting of three directors from each system. Brookings-Deuel administers the day-to-day operations at the Joint Wellfield.

Original system storage capacity was 150,000 gallons. Storage capacity today is 2.7 million gallons. Original production was 1.3 MGD at the Joint Wellfield and 750,000 at the Clear Lake plant. Over the years, storage tanks and larger pumps have been installed to meet increasing demand.

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