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Costs for city services to Grand Forks fertilizer plant projected at $45 million

It will cost about $45 million to prepare roads and city utility service for the Northern Plains Nitrogen fertilizer plant planned in northwest Grand Forks.

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It will cost about $45 million to prepare roads and city utility service for the Northern Plains Nitrogen fertilizer plant planned in northwest Grand Forks.

That projected cost will be split by the city of Grand Forks and NPN, with the company taking on most of the costs as it will see more benefits than the city, City Administrator Todd Feland said.

NPN's plant will be producing mass quantities of nitrogen fertilizer products and has a tentative startup date of May 2019.

About $26.5 million will go toward building infrastructure for city utility service to NPN. It will mostly be for the city to treat its gray water-or water already used, such as through sinks or washing machines-for NPN to use in its cooling system.

The city will also build infrastructure to further treat the gray water before discharging it into the Red River, Feland said. About 80 percent of the gray water will be used by NPN, while about 20 percent will be discharged into the river after further treatment.

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The utility infrastructure will also accommodate providing fresh water and sanitary sewer services to the NPN plant, he said.

The rest of the $45 million will go to road improvements near the fertilizer plant, planned for a 340-acre site at North 55th Street and 54th Avenue North, said Shawn Gaddie, engineer at AE2S, which is contracted to assist the city on the infrastructure plans.

North 55th Street, 54th Avenue North and North 69th Street, all will be upgraded to provide better access to the NPN site, Gaddie said.

Cost share

NPN will pay most of the $45 million in infrastructure costs because the company has more to gain from it than the city does, Feland said. But the city will chip in because many of the infrastructure improvements will also benefit the city, he said.

For example, updates to the roads could benefit other businesses that may want to move to the largely undeveloped area.

Also, city officials have encouraged the NPN project as a major job creator and economic boost.

Exactly how the projected infrastructure cost will be split between the city and NPN has not yet been negotiated, and more information should be available in August, Feland said.

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The city also plans to seek state funds for the project, if it moves forward, as the state has provided funding to similar economic development projects, he said.

All of these plans depend on whether NPN secures a primary investor for the fertilizer plant, Feland said. If not, the project may not happen, he said, but having projected costs for infrastructure helps provide information to potential investors.

Cal Coey, project manager for NPN, wrote in an email "three industry-experienced investors are completing project reviews and other due diligence processes" considering the project.

Construction on the $2 billion plant is expected to start in late 2016 or early 2017.

NPN and the city are both still working on obtaining permits from the state health department for the project, Feland said. NPN still needs its air quality permit, and the city needs its permit to discharge gray water into the river.

Also, a study is still in progress on how plumes that may come from the NPN plant may affect the Grand Forks International Airport, Feland said.

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