Awarded state recognition, Box Elder officials hope to wash away water misconceptions

BOX ELDER, S.D. — The City of Box Elder recently won the states recognition for drinking water excellence for the 12th straight year. But behind the scenes, the City’s reputation hasn’t reflected that same recognition.

“The impression was, water in Box Elder was not good,” said Jimmy Dettman, the city’s marketing director.

Water issues on the northwest side of Box Elder date back to 2018 where shallow wells, ranging from 50 to 100 feet deep, would pull in contaminants from nearby. The City wants residents and prospective businesses to know the issues are not theirs.

“That was private wells,” said Mayor Larry Larson. “The base is handling that and taking care of those people. But it was not in city limits and they were not on city water. We have good water.”

The City’s water sits 4,900 feet below the ground as part of the Madison Formation.

“The water coming out of the Madison is such a high-quality water that all we need to do is inject fluoride and a little bit of chlorine and the water is potable. Then, it goes directly into our storage tanks,” said Doug Curry, Public Works.

Box Elder

“There’s rumors if you will, that this city’s quality of water is in question and the ability to provide enough water for development is out there and we just want to be able to tell everyone that’s false,” said Nicole Schneider, City Administrator and Chief Finance Officer.

Dream Design International is currently developing 110 acres in Box Elder, the future home of the Liberty Center Recreation Facility, surrounded by homes, apartments, and commercial space. They say they look at a number of factors when choosing developments and water quality and availability top the list.

“In this case, we have multiple wells under construction and in production and the plans are in place to continue and continue to keep the water quality high, for not what they have existing, but these future developments that come online,” said Kyle Treloar, Dream Design International.

The City is working to install two more wells, in addition to the existing four. They currently serve 8,300 people and on average, pump 964,000 gallons of water a day.

As the City has grown eight to 10% percent a year over the last five years, they say they continue to plan for the growth.

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