Wastewater Master Plan presented

Cali O'Hare file photo

Quartz Avenue deep freeze update

PINEDALE – A discussion about what the future of Pinedale’s wastewater system might look like took up a significant portion of the town council’s March 27 meeting.

Council members heard a detailed report from engineers with Jorgensen Associates, Rio Verde Engineering and JVA Consulting Engineers regarding the town’s Wastewater Master Plan.

The purpose of a master plan is to identify problems in the town’s infrastructure and determine the “best solutions” to solve each problem while pinpointing future sources of funding at the local, state and federal level, explained Abram Pearce, director of public works.

A sound master plan includes “actionable” solutions to maintain and improve the community’s infrastructure, Pearce added.

Master plans do not commit the town to each project listed in the document, Pearce said. The town is required to go through the proper planning, zoning and financial processes before embarking on a capital construction project.

The town council did not take any action on the Wastewater Master Plan on March 27.

Kolter Booth, an engineer at Jorgensen, stated the primary objective of the Wastewater Master Plan was to analyze the town’s sanitation system, recommend maintenance to the existing system and propose capital projects to “aid the town” in “making sound decisions moving forward” to improve its wastewater infrastructure.

Engineers examined current and projected flow rates in wastewater pipelines across town based on growth estimates used in the town’s Transportation Master Plan, Booth said. Jorgensen and its partners then highlighted “deficiencies” in the sewer system and proposed projects to address each deficiency, including replacing manholes or injecting hydrophobic grout sealant to prevent leaks, Booth said.

Additional long-term recommendations included enlarging certain sewer trunk lines to enhance capacity, rerouting trunk lines around easements and rehabilitating older sewer infrastructure in town, Booth added.

Aaron Seehafer, representing Rio Verde Engineering, discussed replacing aging clay pipelines under Pine Street. Seehafer and Pearce both emphasized the importance of working with the Wyoming Department of Transportation to time any replacement of clay pipes with broader plans to rehabilitate Pine Street in either 2026 or 2027 to minimize costs.

Seehafer also addressed the “Orcutt seep.” The recommended solution would reroute excess groundwater on Orcutt Hill through a pipeline linked to the town’s underdrain system. A second pipe would move the water from the underdrain system to a discharge point along Pine Creek at Boyd Skinner Park.

The total Orcutt Hill project cost is $611,702, said Pearce. The Town of Pinedale received a $452,659 grant through the American Recovery Plan Act, or ARPA, and distributed to municipal governments by the State Loan and Investment Board, to fund 74 percent of the project, Pearce added. The town and county are splitting the remaining 24 percent, leaving the town responsible for $79,521.

John McGee, of JVA Consulting Engineers, talked about alternatives to improve the secondary treatment process at the town’s wastewater treatment facility to better meet state and federal guidelines. The alternatives entailed installing a new mechanical treatment process, building a system similar to the existing treatment lagoons at the wastewater facility or constructing a “moving bed biofilm reactor,” similar to that used by the Town of Marbleton, McGee explained.

Todd Christiano, representing Raftelis, a company specializing in management consulting, reviewed the financial health of the town’s wastewater system and Pinedale’s ability to fund future capital construction projects.

The town’s wastewater system is in “good financial shape,” Christiano told the council. The utility draws sufficient revenue through wastewater rates to cover operating costs through fiscal year 2029, he added. Christiano estimated for a town growth rate of 1 percent and an annual 4-percent increase in salaries, materials and supplies.

Due to the financial health of the wastewater utility, potential grants for capital projects and available town reserves for capital construction, Pinedale is “in a good position” with “lots of flexibility” to “ensure projects are timed right and get funding,” Christiano said.

Quartz Avenue freezing

The Pinedale Town Council passed a unanimous motion to reimburse costs incurred by homeowners at 359 and 386 Quartz Ave. to fix pipes that froze earlier this winter. The money from the town will go directly to Harber Construction, the company hired by the homeowners to repair the pipes.

Both homeowners followed procedures to prevent freezing, including bleeding water “at or above the recommended rate,” said Mayor Matt Murdock. The residents immediately contacted a utility company in an attempt to resolve the freezing issue, Murdock added.

Upon investigation, town staff discovered locations where ice had built up on the main pipeline maintained by the town, Murdock stated. The frost then worked its way down the main pipeline to the two residences on Quartz Avenue, Murdock added.

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