July 23, 2019, 5:08 p.m.
Residents in Boyd County are still without running drinking water. The reconstruction of the pipeline underneath the Niobrara River, which would usually supply drinking water, is two months overdue.
The Spencer Dam broke in mid-March, taking the pipeline with it. Authorities expected the new pipeline to be in place by May and the repairs to last 42 days.
Horizontal Boring and Tunneling Company is now close to finishing up the pilot hole, which the new pipeline will run through, according to Rex Black, chair of the Boyd County Rural Water District.
Black said no one knows when the pipeline will be finished, but the people of Boyd County are patient.
“Nobody’s washing their cars," Black said. "Nobody’s watering their lawn. Nobody’s putting in a garden. Everybody’s kind of getting tired of the bottled water thing because we’re used to just going to the spigot, filling up a big glass of water and drinking it. They’re doing really good, which I (would) expect nothing less out of these people.”
The pilot hole is drilled 70-feet below the Niobrara River and still needs to be widened, cleaned and the pipe needs to be laid before the people of Boyd County will have safe drinking water in their homes.
Currently, the county is relying on two wells for water to shower, wash clothes and give water to cattle, while volunteers give away bottled water at the county fairgrounds. Black hopes the wells can keep up with the demand during the remainder of the summer.
Livestock at the Boyd County Fair, which starts on July 31, aren't allowed to be washed on fairgrounds, according to Boyd County Extension Educators. They said they want to conserve water for livestock to drink.