City of Ipswich Makes Improvements to Its Water System

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Valerie Jensen
(605) 824-3624
Ipswich Water Tower

It’s winter in South Dakota.  The ground is covered with fresh snowfall as fresh snowflakes sparkle while the rising morning sun awakens the City of Ipswich.  The puff of exhaust is seen rising from the chimneys as furnaces work overtime to keep the City’s residents warm.  While the sun may be shining, Mother Nature is deceiving as temperatures dip below zero, with wind chills well-below the frigid temperatures.  While it would be a great day to stay inside, City Maintenance workers are awakened by a phone call.  There is a waterline break that needs to be fixed. 

Now, imagine the winter weather slowing warming as the signs of Spring begin to fill the community.  The temperatures are slowly creeping up, snow piles begin to melt, and the first rains of the season are on the horizon.  While Spring weather is a welcomed friend after the frigid South Dakota winters, some residents in the City of Ipswich lack the excitement many others feel.  Rapid snow melts from abnormally warm weather and heavy spring rains often times leads some residents have to deal with standing water and sewer backup in their basement as the city’s sewer system is deteriorating due to age and inflow and infiltration to the system is more than it can handle. 

Scenarios such as those described above used to be common in the City of Ipswich.  The City’s water and sewer lines had outlived their useful lives and were in dire need of repair.  With the help of USDA Rural Development’s Water and Environmental Programs funding, the community’s residents are now able to refer to these scenarios as memories.  In 2009, the City of Ipswich received funding from Rural Development ($1,635,000 Loan and $1,593,000 Grant) to complete a $5,049,000 water improvement project which included replacing water lines, installing water meters, and constructing a new water tower.  Construction crews often stood in ankle-knee deep water as they replaced the severely deficient waterlines.  Crews worked diligently and the project was completed in 2012.  As the water project was nearing completion, City Council members began planning to upgrade the City’s sewer system.  In 2015, the City of Ipswich was again awarded funding from USDA Rural Development ($3,650,000 Loan and $1,810,000 grant) to replace and reline the City’s sewer lines.  The City is in the final stages of finishing the sewer improvement project as construction is slated to be finished in the Fall of 2018.  USDA Rural Development funding has been instrumental in helping to ensure the 954 residents in the rural community of Ipswich have safe, clean drinking water and no longer have to be concerned with water backup with Spring snow-melt and rains, allowing them more time to appreciate the snowflakes shimmering like diamonds in the sun on a cold winter day and the smell of green grass and fresh, flagrant flowers as the winter fades into warm spring days.

Fast Facts

Obligation Amount$5,285,000 WEP Loan
Date of ObligationJuly 2009
Congressional DistrictAt Large
Senator's Last NamesThune; Rounds