City to finalize $2 million grant for sewer crossing at June 7 meeting

City Commissioners will consider ratifying during their June 7 meeting an agreement with the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation for federal COVID funds for the city’s improvements to Lift Station No. 1.

The city’s public works department submitted an application for the first round of the DNRC competitive water and sewer infrastructure grant program. The funding is through the American Rescue Plan Act, which allocated federal COVID relief funds to states.

City to consider $1.3 million contract for design for a sewer main river crossing

ARPA allocated about $2 million to the State of Montana and the Legislature passed House Bill 632, which included allocating $249 million to a competitive grant program for water and sewer infrastructure improvements.

The public works application was one of 74 selected to receive $2 million.

The city’s lift station project application was ranked 62 out of 241 applications received.

The original application requested $5.587 million and committed the city to a dollar for dollar match.

The City Commission approved the application submission in July 2021.

After ranking all the first round applications, the state decided to cap awards at $2 million, according to the city public works staff report.

City staff adjusted the proposed lift station project budget to reflect the cap, and reflected a grant award of $2 million with the city match as $10.387 million.

That updated proposal was approved by commissioners in February.

The current Lift Station No. 1 was built in 1979 and is the only river crossing for the downtown sewer collection system. The station was built under emergency circumstances due to a 1959 failure of the crossing that resulted in raw sewage being leaked directly into the Missouri River, according to the staff report.

The project is already underway and the commission approved a $1.3 million contract in January to start the project.

This lift station pumps about a third of the city’s sewage across the Missouri to the wastewater treatment plant and the project will install a redundant force main and other improvements, according to the staff report.

“This project is a necessary safeguard against further negative environmental impacts. In fact, this program was identified already identified as a priority when public works received the award notification,” according to the staff report.