The town of Sheridan is moving forward with plans to improve the local wastewater treatment system with the help of a grant from the Treasure State Endowment Program, almost a year after funding for the project was vetoed by Governor Brian Schweitzer.
After District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock of Helena ruled in February that the governors’ line-item veto was unconstitutional, Sheridan has been awarded the $750,000 TSEP grant that it needs to fund the wastewater treatment project. The next move toward getting the ball rolling on construction is to allow for public comment on the draft Environmental Assessment for the project.
Sheridan mayor Dean Derryberry doesn’t foresee any hiccups with approving the draft EA, a process required by the Montana Environmental Protection Act as well as the Montana Department of Commerce in the initial planning stages for the project. Part of the reason for this is that the EA hasn’t changed since it was originally drafted in November 2009.
“Because we’re not crossing any environmentally sensitive areas on private property, there really is no issue,” Derryberry said. “It’s just a formality that the Department of Environmental Quality requires.”
From here the project should move quickly. Contractor bids for the project closed on Monday April 30, and Derryberry hopes the town will be able to award the contract by the end of this week. Included in the process are background checks for contractors, approval from funding agencies and a bonding agreement for the contractor.
“I’m guessing about the middle of June will be the earliest that the contractor will start digging,” Derryberry said.
The TSEP grant stipulates that the project must be under contract and started no later than July 1.
“Because of our stimulus grant that we have, there is a pretty strict timetable built into that grant money,” Derryberry said.
The scope of work for the project includes replacing 750 feet of 10-inch sewer line from Park Street out to the treatment lagoon site, as well as the construction of a blower building, two new lift stations, three storage lagoons and approximately 24,000 feet of effluent force main. The project also requires an aerated treatment lagoon, irrigation pumping system and agricultural irrigation pivot.
A public hearing for response to the draft EA is scheduled for Monday May 14 at 6 p.m. at the Town Hall. At this time all aspects of the project will be explained, including the budget, scope of work and EA process. Community members are encouraged to ask questions and express their opinions about issues relating to the project, and the Town Council will consider all comments given at the hearing or submitted in writing before 5 p.m. on May 14.
For more information contact the Town of Sheridan at 842–5431.