Leonard, ND to get a new water supply

Mar 14, 2016

The state Water Commission has approved a project to provide the city of Leonard, in Cass County, a new water supply.

The city had been getting its water from wells. But those wells have high levels of arsenic.

Duane Wadeson is from Leonard. He became ill in December, 2014.

"High fever, hair loss, nausea, high white blood count" were Wadeson's symptoms. He says at first, doctors couldn't find the problem. Then, he asked for a poison test.

"The arsenic in my body came up way, way high," Wadeson said. "It was higher than they'd ever seen in this area.'

Wadeson says doctors told him to move away. He says he moved to Fort Ransom, but kept his farm.

"Most of my symptoms are gone away," Wadeson said. "But the doctors say I'm 10 to 50 times more likely to get cancer."

Wadeson says he undergoes body scans every three months.

The project okayed by the Water Commission would bring water from the Sheyenne Delta aquifer to Leonard.

"We have a water treatment plant located about 6 miles straight south of Leonard," said Jerry Bloemke, a member of Cass Rural Water. "We're in the process of expanding that treatment plant right now, so this whole project has been very well timed, so we will have plenty of capacity at that treatment plant."

The project will cost about $3.2 million. Federal money will pay 75 percent of that cost. Blomeke says the rest will be borrowed.