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By Nathan Bourne

Board Explores New Route

Seeley Lake Sewer District


Nathan Bourne, Pathfinder

Board members lead Project Engineer Steve Lipetzky down the steep slope dropping into Morrell Creek.

SEELEY LAKE - The Seeley Lake Sewer Board has been discussing an alternative route for the main pipe to the proposed wastewater treatment plant. Plans to send out information packets on the proposed system and the names associated with the test wells were also discussed at their Oct. 20 meeting.

Currently the main pipe to the treatment site is planned to go from a lift station near Highway 83 straight up Cedar Lane and over the hill on the other side of Tamarack Drive. From there it would go under Morrell Creek and across the northern edge of Seeley-Swan High School's property until it hits the treatment site on state land.

The board has been discussing the feasibility of the route and has been exploring a new route following Locust Lane up to the high school and then across the school property to the state land.

The board walked the routes with an engineer from Great West Engineering (GW) Oct. 7. GW has since done an estimate on the two routes though there was some discussion that they priced the alternative of digging up Airport Road, not across school property.

None of the board members want to see the line go up the Airport Road because of the traffic disruptions and cost of repaving.

The price estimate for the alternative was well inside the contingency fund planned into the total project. It was also noted that the district does not have easements across private land on the east side of Tamarack. Depending on the cost of those easements the two alternatives would be estimated even closer to the same cost.

GW provided a list of pros and cons for each alternative along with the estimate.

The currently planned route is shorter and estimated slightly lower but must cross a "No-Build/No Excavation" zone on Morrell Creek. That zone may need to be drilled under instead of dug the conventional way. The pipe must also go over a hill with one side being very steep.

The new route's pros include being able to hook the high school to the system without having to cross Morrell Creek a second time and wouldn't require any private easements. The route would also allow for property on the east side of Morrell Creek to be hooked up easier if it were ever to join the district.

The disadvantages of the new route would be that a second lift station would be needed, though the two lift stations would be smaller than the single lift station in the original plan. The new route would also potentially attach a pipe to the bridge on Locust Lane and require additional engineering.

The board decided to wait for more information from GW before making any decisions.

At the meeting, the board also discussed the voter information packet they are planning to mail.

Board Chairman Mike Boltz has been working with the LOR Foundation, who has agreed to fund it. He said the recommendation is to wait till after the general election to send out information because people are being flooded with political mailings right now.

Boltz said he would like to see the packets mailed, not only to the eligible voters, but also to the community at large to educate everyone on the proposed system.

The bond election for the proposed wastewater treatment facility and the first phase of the collection system is being done by mail. The ballots will be mailed out on Nov. 23 and due back Dec. 13.

In other business, the board voted to quit using business names for the location of the test wells. The test wells are showing contamination and it gives the perception that those businesses are using contaminated water.

Kurt's Polaris, the Seeley Lake Baptist Church and Lindy's Prime Steak House are all serviced by Seeley Lake's public water system.

Seeley Lake Water District's Vince Chappell does the testing and confirmed that the contaminated test wells are not used by the businesses. He said the wells are small diameter and have no pumps in them. They were drilled specifically as test wells.

Moving forward, the district will start calling the wells based on the legal description of the property where the wells are located.

The next regular SLSD board meeting is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. Nov. 17 at the Missoula County Satellite Office, 3360 Highway 83.


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