Sheridan’s wastewater treatment project nears completion

The long process of the town of Sheridan’s wastewater treatment project is almost done and people in Sheridan will start seeing less of the trucks and equipment they’ve seen throughout the past year.

Sheridan Mayor Dean Derryberry and council members heard from Great West Engineering project manager Fred Phillips and the Jackson Contractor Group on the project’s progress at Monday night’s council meeting. All the parties were hopeful the leak test on Tuesday would go well and the status of substantial completion could be issued. This status will begin the warranty and give 30 days to check small items off the project’s punch list. Final inspection will take place at a later date.

The completion of the project comes at the right time, as some of the funds used for the project need to be closed out next month. Funds have come from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and other sources. The total cost of the project will be about $5 million, said Derryberry. The initial estimates were around $7 million.

The town has been using the system, not as finally intended, but in an interim manner since late December. The wastewater treatment project dates back to 2007 when the town was ordered by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality to improve their wastewater treatment system. The order has prevented the town from allowing any new hookups to the current system, which was designed to serve about 500 people, but is currently serving more than 800.

Phase one of the project involved the construction of three new sewage treatment lagoons and installation of a pump system that will take the treated water and deliver it to a center pivot sprinkler system for irrigation. The second phase of the project, which started this spring, was to rebuild the existing treatment lagoon to be used as a sludge pond. The new wastewater treatment plant will incorporate the existing sewer lagoon as a sludge pond and the liquid waste will be pumped to three other ponds where it will be treated and then pumped to a center pivot sprinkler system and applied to alfalfa crops.

“We’re winding down with this project,” councilman Mark McLaughlin said. “I’m optimistic.”

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