$6.15 million Absarokee Wastewater project nearing start

By: 
Marlo Pronovost
Thursday, September 12, 2019
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A $6.15 million wastewater project in Absarokee is finally getting closer to getting underway.

Tuesday night, the bid award for what is technically called the “Absarokee Wastewater Treatment Improvement Project Treatment Equipment Procurement” was given to Nexon Inc. in the amount of $783,300. It was announced at the Stillwater County Commissioner’s traveling agenda meeting in Absarokee.

In the spring, Absarokee residents will see sewer rates increase to approximately $60. It will be the second rate increase associated with the project. The rate increases were made public in 2016, when Great West Engineering presented four possible scenarios.

NEW SCHEDULE

Great West Engineering’s Collette Anderson is the project manager and said Tuesday the final design of the project will be done this December, with bidding expected to take place in February 2020, the start of construction in April 2020 and have the project complete by September 2020.

THE MONEY

Approximately $875,000 of that total is covered through two separate grants. There is also a pending grant application out for a DLA (Delivering Local Assistance) grant that could bring up to an additional $750,000 in for the project. The balance is being paid through a rural development loan.

In 2016, the initial estimate for the project was $4.9 million. Delays were encountered when during the preliminary design of a topographic survey, private drinking wells were found to be too close to the proposed wastewater treatment improvement. Additionally, another building had to be added to the plans, as did a lift station. Also playing a role was inflation, as the price increased to $6.15 million.

Stillwater County Commission Chair Mark Crago said that while delays prompted the county to have to increase the amount of the rural development loan to cover the new total, the interest rate onthat loan was reduced. The bidding process is expected to take place in February 2020, followed by the start of construction in April 2020 and the project complete by September 2020.

At Tuesday’s hearing, Anderson was ask if the project would allow for growth, as far as allowing more people to access the system. Anderson said yes, although she did not have an exact number.

Crago said the commission will soon be creating help for the project in the form of a new maintenance district.

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