West Knox Rural Water

Contact Information
PO BOX 281
Verdigre, NE  68783

Phone – (402)-668-7223
Cell – (402)-841-8196
E-mail- westknoxrw@gpcom.net

Bernard Jorgensen – Project Manager

Dorothy Mastalir – Office Assistant

Dan Ebel – Maintenance Assistant

2019 “Bomb Cyclone”
Affects the West Knox Rural Water System

During the March 14th ” Bomb Cyclone” the 8-inch mainline under the Verdigris Creek pulled apart. This cut off service to about 1/2 of the system’s customers. Even though the storm was still raging the staff was able to complete a temporary repair and restore service within 10 hours. The temporary repair has been replaced with a new 8-inch High Density Poly Pipe along with 2 hydrants to by-pass the creek if needed. The storm also caused an issue at 13 creek crossings. We are working with FEMA to get these issues resolved. WKRW adds two to six new rural homes, cabins, posture or feeding operations hookups each year. The system is a vital post in keeping the are growing and prospering.

West Knox Rural Water System

In 1974, the Niobrara NRD began receiving requests from local residents to develop a rural water distribution system near Verdigre. The District took no action at the time because there didn’t seem to be enough interest from residents to support a system.

In 1979, the District received more inquiries and conducted a feasibility study. After a public meeting, the District decided to hire an engineer to develop a plan.  One of the most obvious considerations in the development of the rural water system was the source of water.

Construction began in 1984 with the drilling of two wells located 8 miles south of Verdigre just to the west of the intersection of Highway 14 and 59. The West Knox Rural Water System began operation on January 1, 1985 with two communities, Verdigre and Winnetoon and 160 rural Customers. The original project cost $1,282,000 and was financed through a loan from the Farmer Home Administration; with the final payment made in 2010.

Through the years the Rural Water System continues to update the system. In 2004, chlorination equipment was added. In 2005, a new radio monitoring system was installed to monitor the buster pumps, storage tanks levels and pressures in the system from a single location. It also notifies the operator 24 hours a day if a problem arises. The system averages 81 to 86 million gallons of quality drinking water delivered to its customers each year.

To insure quality drinking water into the future the Rural Water System has added two new supply wells to the system in 2017. These wells are located one mile south of the existing system on an 80 acre tract of land which was purchased by the District. In addition to the wells there is just over 2 miles of 8 inch mainline, three value/meter pits, and a completely updated monitoring system, which allows the staff to operate the system via smart phones. The Rural Water System applied for and received a $1.3 million Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Loan through NDEQ which has 20% loan forgiveness.

In 2010, West Knox RWS applied for and received a grant from the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) to conduct a Northeastern Nebraska Water Supply System Appraisal. This Appraisal was in cooperation with the communities of Creighton, Center, Niobrara and Santee to assess the need for a regional water supply system. This Appraisal was funded entirely by the BOR and was completed in June 2010. The Appraisal assessment determined a feasibility study should be conducted in the same areas, so an application was submitted to the BOR in July 2011. This study would complete approximately 80% of the engineering and had an 80/20 match requirement. Only three communities participated in the feasibility study, Center, Niobrara and Santee which took eighteen months to complete. Without Creighton as a customer the feasibility study failed to meet the cost/benefit ratio established by BOR.

The current system supplies water to Verdigre Winnetoon as well as 244 rural customers.