Lockwood sewer expansion drawing interest

by Evelyn Pyburn-Originally published for the print edition of Yellowstone County News.

LOCKWOOD — With 21 property owners having applied and paid fees to connect to the Phase Two of the Lockwood Sewer within a two-week span, Lockwood Water and Sewer (LWSD) Board members were quite pleased. During their monthly meeting last week, staff said that they are receiving at least one call a day wanting details about connecting to the system, which was completed last month.

Notices were sent out two weeks ago to property owners announcing that they can now connect to the new sewer line. Ten contractors have also submitted paper work to the district to be approved as qualified to install systems for homeowners.

Other discussion by the board centered on more business for the sewer system, the district’s prospective agreement wit h Exxon Mobile to also connect to the system to transport up to 2 million gallons of waste a day to the Billings treatment plant.

Exxon is approaching the deadline for greater restrictions on discharging into the river, which means they will have to treat their waste. Their business is a boon to the Lockwood sewer district because it means more revenue being generated faster than was originally projected, which will help defray costs for other property owners in the district.

Exxon will negotiate their own agreement with the City of Billings for treatment, and that will probably be “the last piece” of their planning, said LWSD Manager Mike Ariztia.

The board discussed safeguards against any liability and how to monitor flow and constituent. The board’s attorney Terry Seifert was present at the meeting.

In cases of emergency Exxonmobil has storage capacity, it was noted.

The board will eventually hold a meeting with Exxon officials. It may be a special meeting or it may be held in conjunction with a regular monthly meeting, depending on the timing.

On the water side of business, the board approved a task order with Morrison Maierle Engineering to begin the design of the Lockwood raw water intake pump station and treatment plant improvements. The planning and design for the project is included in this year’s budget but it will not go out for bid until the district learns if they get TSEP grant for which they have applied. They expect to know about that sometime in July 2017.

Board member Stu Deans suggested that the board explore the possibility of installing a second water station for bulk sales. At times the line of people waiting to fill up their tanks at the LWSD office building gets quite long, he said. It might encourage more sales to people out of the district, too, he said.

Several ideas were floated during the discussion, including contracting the service out to someone other than LWSD. Potential locations were also discussed.

The district sold 40,923,100 gallons of water YTD as of August 2015 and 42,790,500 in August 2016. Wastewater treatment for July 2015 was 4,585,988 gallons and 3,962,156 in July 2016.

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