Natural Gas History

Mayor Charles Rippey and former Mayor Ivin Dankle stand ready to turn on gas for Coon Rapids in 1953...
On June 9, 1952 the citizens of Coon Rapids voted and approved the establishment of a municipal gas distribution system. On May 4, 1953 by a 254 to 10 vote, the citizens of Coon Rapids authorized the Gas Utility to enter into a contract with Northern Natural Gas Company for the wholesale purchase of gas. On May 13, 1953 a contract for $133,986 was awarded to Wilson Construction Company of Tulsa, Oklahoma to construct the distribution system.

Wilson Construction Company began in mid May, 1953 with the construction of a regulator station and pipeline consisting of: 8,220 feet of 4-inch steel pipe, 25,000 feet of 2-inch steel pipe, 7,700 feet of 1 ¼-inch steel pipe and 21,630 feet of 1-inch steel pipe. On September 8th, 1953 the gas was turned on. The gas distribution system was completed just in time as the first gas flowed to dry the 1953 crop for the Garst & Thomas Seed Corn Company.

On October 5th, 1953 the citizens went to the polls again and approved the establishment of a Natural Gas Board of Trustees. On December 31, 1953 the first Natural Gas Board of Trustees, as appointed by Mayor Charles Rippey, was sworn in by the City Clerk: Walter Buenneke, Dillon Johnston and Dennis Brannan. The gas utility operated this way until 1962, when voters approved consolidating all of the utilities under one Board of Trustees, which is the same way the Coon Rapids Municipal Utilities conducts business today.

The original gas system was installed without any cathodic protection, so in 1958 a cathodic protection study was completed resulting in the installation of anodes throughout the system. In 1966 the Board of Trustees decided to build a peak shaving plant. This plant gave CRMU leverage in negotiating gas transportation contracts. The savings from these contracts paid for the peak plant and still benefit the utility today.

When operation of the distribution system began in 1953, there was one regulator station which received gas at 75 psi from Northern Natural Gas Company. The regulator station then reduced line pressure to 21 psi entering the distribution system. As the town’s loads grew, so did the distribution system.

Today, CRMU’s distribution system consists of three regulator stations feeding 19 miles of distribution mains that are controlled with 93 valves. The mains feed 9 miles of service lines that deliver gas to approximately 650 customers at 30 psi.