Getting things moving

Big Sky County Water and Sewer District decisions move expansion forward
"This is a critically important vote you just made,” BSWSD general manager Ron Edwards said. “Now we can get started with design.”

Big Sky County Water and Sewer District made moves that were essential to moving things forward with wastewater treatment plant expansion at the July 16 board meeting. 


Membrane Bioreactor decision 

Scott Buecker, engineer with AE2S explained that the board needed to award the contract for the membrane bioreactor – in essence the beating heart of any municipal wastewater treatment plant. He explained that if the board was not ready to make that decision, he would need to ask the companies who bid for an extension. He said he also needed approval for the site plan. 


Board members asked Buecker if he was still suggesting Equova for the contract, which he confirmed. 

“[They have] more soft care budgeted. That, in theory, should reduce my cost,” he explained. 

Board member Peter Manka motioned to approve Evoqua. Board vice president Tom Reeves seconded the motion and the board approved it unanimously. 


Site approval for wastewater treatment plant expansion 

The board voted unanimously to move forward with the site plans as proposed by Buecker with AE2S Engineering. 

Reeves made the motion with board member Brian Wheeler seconding. The consensus was found after some debate. Manka expressed concerns about having an “industrial” looking facility near the softball fields and park, that are heavily used by locals and tourists. 

“The area adjacent to the plant is going to get used in the long-term,” he explained. 

His inspection of the site with Buecker resulted in the suggestion that the board consider repositioning the site so that it would not be as visible to passersby. He also noted the likely considerable cost that will be required to give it a little more curb appeal at its suggested location. 

“We’re looking at considerable excavation volumes, a berm, a steep wall,” he said. “We need to be aware…” 

Buecker explained the site design is such that it will be dropped down into the hillside and the front will simply look like a “relatively tall building with a berm.” 

The board inevitably settled on the site plan as proposed mostly due to the “benefit to the long-term hydraulic gradient to keep the sit to the north,” as Manka explained the benefit. 

Unanimous approval was found with Manka offering a qualifier of his support – that the board be aesthetically considerate in the design and “good neighbors.” 

“This is a critically important vote you just made,” BSWSD general manager Ron Edwards said. “Now we can get started with design.”

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