HAVRE, Mont. (NMB) – The Hill County Commission held a meeting on Tuesday to receive an update on replacements to the Lift Stations for Rural Special Improvement Stations 21 and 29/30.
The RSID 21 lift station is one of two in North Havre and will be undergoing a complete replacement. This project has an estimated total cost of over $520,000 and is completely grant funded.
The surveys for topography and the boundaries have been completed and are expected to be sent over to the Department of Environmental Quality within the next few weeks once easements are worked out.
The new lift station is in the same location but will have a slightly larger footprint due to the fact that there will be a generator.
The next step, according to Matt Mudd of Great West Engineering, is to “clean up” easements in the area of the lift station where there have previously been discrepancies.
“The easments good for that force main, that’s documented, but what’s around this lift station site is going to get a little bit bigger, because a generator and because of fencing, so we’d have to prepare that easement language,” Mudd says.
Mudd added that because the easement is in a flood plain, purchasing it should come at minimal cost to the county.
The easement will be prepared by Great West Engineering and Morris Land Surveys.
The goal for the Commission is to be able to put the project out to bid by the end of the calendar year or by early 2022.
The Commission says user rates will not be impacted by this project, a flow meter will be put in, and the station is being built to account for potential growth in the North Havre community.
While Hill County is getting close to going out for bids on RSID 21, they are still in the early stages of prep work for the replacement of RSID 29/30, which services an area of Hill County that includes Wal-Mart and North 40, and where the only residents are at Timber Creek Village.
The project has a rough estimated cost of $630,000 and Hill County has committed to paying for about half of that through their ARPA COVID-relief funds. The rest of the project could be funded through the second round of ARPA competitive grants that the State will be divvying up next year, or through other grants or loans.
Because one-fourth of the RSID service area is now Havre city limits due to previous annexation, the city currently pays 25 percent of operation and maintenance costs, so the Commission also pondered asking the city to pay for a portion of this project.
“To me, (the project) needs to be done. And whether the city wants to join hands to do it or not… I mean, we could challenge them, we could do all sorts of things, but the money is money and I think we need to do it. We can reach out to the city and tell them what we’re planning to do and they can respond in their appropriate fashion,” said Peterson.
The Commission says this project would certainly benefit the city of Havre, especially if the entire service area is annexed into city limits down the road.
“There is no question as things expand and improve, (Havre) is going to annex that area,” said Peterson. “So it behooves them that we’re putting in that much extra dollars to improve a situation that they may take over in the years to come.”
In a 2-0 vote on Tuesday, Commissioners Diane McLean and Mark Peterson voted to move forward with pre and final design work while they await on a decision from the state as to whether they will be providing funds through ARPA funding. Susan Brurud of Bear Paw Development believes that this will help them accrue extra points in their competitive application, which could set them up to receive the requested funds.
“To just sit on this project doesn’t make sense. We’ve already got this money allocated, and we can use it for design and still put it as match,” said Brurud. “So we could be moving forward going for competitive again, possibly with a designed project. Which would bump us way up. So we’re not taking any risk with the money. It’s money that has already been set aside for that anyways. We’re just keeping the project moving faster.”
Mudd said a very rough estimate for pre and final design, which would include survey work, is $50-60,000.
The lift station area itself features controls and a shed and is just west of the North 40 parking lot and has overflowed in the past.
Commissioner Mark Peterson says that the control system at the lift station has also led to problems in the past.
“The issue we’ve got today is we did all the connections sealed, so once the dry well got full, it just followed the air and into the little building and shorted everything out. We should have left an aircap somewhere. Never would’ve seen it happen.”
“The leak developed, and then it followed it through the tubing and into the electrical wires, and pressurized it and shorted it out,” Mudd added.
“That’s what we were trying to avoid by having the controls in the dry well,” said Peterson. “We all learn by doing things. Trust me.”
The replacement will do away with the dry well and make the lift station completely submersible.
“You’d keep the same wet well and have your submersible pumps be in that. So the dry well hole would be abandoned. Then you could have guide rails, you could have your controls and everything above ground,” said Mudd.
The new lift station would have a generator and already has room for growth if the population of the service area were to increase.
The plan for both projects is to cure lining in place in order to keep groundwater out.