The Pipes are Calling

Roberts Gets Crucial Sewer Pipe Funding
By: 
Eleanor Guerrero
CCN Senior Reporter

Courtesy Photo - All sewer pipes eventually need replacement. Thanks to a major grant, Roberts will get a new sewer piping system.

Over half a million dollars worth of sewer improvements are coming to Roberts this year.
On April 6, the Carbon County Commissioners received notice from Governor Steve Bullock that a Rural Community Block Grant of $450,000 had been approved for Roberts Water and Sewer District for wastewater system improvements.
Carbon County Commissioner Bill Bullock said of the project, “We’re excited.” He explained, “They applied once and got rejected. They applied again, and it was approved."
The full estimated cost of the replacement and upgrade is expected to be $652,700. The $450,000 is a USDA grant administered by the State and Montana has added a State Revolving Fund (SRF) loan for $202,700 to make up the difference. SRF loans are at or below prevailing interest rates to help communities.
According to the Governor’s letter, “Projects such as yours help…leverage those communities’ abilities to provide facilities and services to respond to their greatest local challenges. Such solutions may include essentials such as safe drinking water, proper and sanitary wastewater treatment…” among other essential services.
Commissioner Bullock will be the Environmental Certifying Officer replacing former Commissioner Doug Tucker who initially served in the position on the grant application and has since resigned from office.
Great Western Engineering performed the Preliminary Engineering report and Preliminary Environmental Assessment.
“We’ll get with Great West,” said Bullock. “They help with the process. They’re design people and know the nuts and bolts.”
Greg Lukasik, Project Manager for Great West said, “We’re really excited. Getting this grant was huge for Roberts Water/Sewer. We’re looking forward to working with Roberts.”
The sewer problems that the project will help resolve are listed in the application as “inoperable automated controls at lift station; no backup power source for lift station, one pump at lift station that is deficient, problems with intake structure/piping at the lift station leading to clogged pumps; forcemain leaking; roots penetrating the liner from trees in the lagoon wall; inadequate liner causing infiltration into primary lagoon during high ground water and leakage of wastewater into surrounding groundwater during low groundwater level expected.”
The storage lagoon is believed to leak. Also, the current land use agreement expires in 2018 for the lagoon as well as for the spray irrigation disposal site.
The project couldn’t have come at a better time. According to the application, “The existing facilities present several health and safety threats which the proposed project will eliminate. The primary purpose of the recommended improvements is to improve reduce the amount of I&I (infiltration and inflow) to prevent catastrophic failure of the primary lagoon.” It is the substantial amounts of I&I from groundwater into the sewer mains that is overloading the lagoons. By preventing lagoon overflow, the application explains, it will prevent possible contamination of wastewater to Rock Creek.
Lukasik said after investigation they found seepage only through the service lines. This corrective project “is the only way to do it.”
The work will bring the sewer system into compliance.
The improvements will generally consist of the following activities: replacing sewer service lines; no action to the lift station and renew the agreement with the current landowner for both the lagoon and the spray irrigation disposal site.
There is no provision at this time to replace the pumps. Lukasik said he believed the project “would take pressure off the pumps” and should relieve the situation caused by and causing the leaks.
Should Roberts want to replace the pumps or the whole lift station in the future, Lukasik said there are funding alternatives available. Lift stations can suffer from modern day complications. Rural consumers can help by not flushing items such as “flushable wipes” that get caught inside operations.
The study finds no significant impact “affecting the quality of the human environment and accordingly, Carbon County, and the DEQ have decided not to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969.” Likewise, no significant impact is seen to the environment, wildlife or water quality. In fact, there should be less leakage. Improvements to be made are basically contained in an urban area.
There will be some short-term impact such as temporary air, dust and noise pollution but they will work to mitigate through watering to control dust as well as limiting working hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to eliminate excess disturbance.
Chris DeVries, Manager, of the Roberts Water and Sewer District said, “I’m ecstatic about it! It’s long overdue! It’s great for Roberts!”
Bids went out last month. Contracts will be awarded in the coming weeks. Work is expected to start sometime this May, after a preconstruction conference. The project will be completed in September, 2018.

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Upcoming Events

  • Monday, November 19, 2018 - 7:00pm
    Joliet Group meets at the Community Center Monday at 7 p.m.
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    Now Group meets at the Bridger United Methodist Church, 222 W. Broadway (west entrance of church) Tuesday at 7 p.m.

The Carbon County News

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