Seeley Swan Pathfinder -

By Nathan Bourne

Board adopts Action Plan

Seeley Sewer Board


August 26, 2021

SEELEY LAKE – The Seeley Lake Sewer District Board approved their Action Plan and jumped into action with reports on improving the District’s communication and researching sewer alternatives at its Aug. 19 meeting.

The Action Plan, which had been discussed at length the last couple months, received very little updates from last month’s meeting with the exception of a spreadsheet to track work. Director Cheri Thompson said she added the spreadsheet so the Board could track work being done and better communicate that information to the public.

The Action Plan includes improving the District’s communication with the public, collecting information on available solutions and funding, identifying and creating additional monitoring wells and collecting data on all the parcels in the District including lot size, current and future use, ownership and type of existing wastewater treatment.

The Board voted unanimously to adopt the Action Plan.

Thompson began working on the public communication portion of the Plan. She presented the Board with the first of a monthly column she plans to write for the Pathfinder. The Board approved the column and plans to approve each month’s column before allowing them to be published.

Thompson also created a draft brochure with District information for the Board to consider. The Board tabled action on it to have time to look it over and discuss it at a later meeting.

Director Pat Goodover has been researching alternative solutions to the groundwater pollution and presented some of the information he has found to the Board. Goodover said there are several companies making cluster systems that might be possible solutions. The Board agreed to invite some company representatives to present their products at next month’s meeting.

Missoula City-County Health Department Environmental Health Specialist Jim Erven said cluster systems could be a part of the solution but cautioned against believing everything a company salesman says about their products. He said what the District will really need is a feasibility analysis to determine if these systems would work.

In other business, the Board approved advertising for an interim District Manager and the open Director’s seat. The District currently has no manager after Jean Curtiss retired at the end of June.

The Director’s seat opened when Beth Hutchinson resigned ahead of last month’s meeting. An appointee to Hutchinson’s seat would serve until May of 2022 and then could run for the elected position.

The District considered renewing an agreement to fund the Seeley-Swan High School science class’s water testing of Morrell Creek. The original agreement capped the District’s expense at $2,000 per year.

The Board was surprised this year to get a bill for more than $2,000. Though it covered multiple years, the expense was not in the budget. The Board voted to pay the bill and adjust their budget but wanted to discuss continuing the agreement.

Thompson suggested that the new science teacher be contacted to make sure the testing fit in their plans and explain the program to the Board. The Board tabled the discussion until more information was available.

The District received a letter from Seeley Lake resident Don Larson in which Larson suggests the District be disbanded and then a new combined water and sewer district be formed. Seeley Lake Water District Manager Vince Chappell commented that the topic of a combined district has come up in the past but the Water Board decided not to pursue it unless the a sewer was actually installed.

“We cannot take on the cost or liability for the Sewer District and charge the water customers what it costs to take care of the Sewer Board,” said Chappell. “I just wanted to make that clear again that the Water Board will not entertain that thought until such time as the Sewer District actually has a system in place.”

The Board’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Sept. 16 and will most likely be held electronically. The agenda and information on how to participate will be posted on the District’s website


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