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Ronan plans for new storm water system

RONAN — In the second storm water meeting in March, city council members, and engineers Shari Johnson and Collette Anderson agreed to apply for a Treasure State Endowment Program Grant for $500,000 in order to improve the city’s storm water system.

Johnson reviewed the existing storm water infrastructure in Ronan, explaining the current issues the city needs to address. Currently, Ronan uses a few open storm water mains and a ditch for collection. The majority of the storm water receives no treatment, but there is a mechanical separator along U.S. Highway 93 and a French drain. 

Johnson reported that the system does not comply with the Department of Environmental Quality and the pipes are undersized. She also noted that there is minimal treatment to the water before it enters Spring Creek. 

The water samples, which were collected recently, showed evidence of coliform bacteria, nitrates, phosphates, lead, copper, zinc and suspended solids. 

Johnson noted that the results represent only one sampling and more samples could be tested at different times of the year to get more accurate results. 

“It’s going to be your worst sample,” Johnson explained. “It’s been sitting around all winter.”

“It’s hard when you take one sample and do a run off of that,” She added.

The water from the creek supplies the Splash Pad and Johnson noted the importance of supplying the Splash Pad with clean water from the well. 

Johnson also spoke about the timeliness of some issues. 

She listed some immediate goals that the city should pursue including setting up standards before more development is pursued, supplying clean water to the Splash Pad and obtaining property for treatment and disposal of water. 

Anderson spoke about the various solutions to the storm water issues, honing in on the construction of wetlands and structures that would reduce pollution. 

“We are providing mechanisms along the way, so that by the time it gets to the creek, it’s cleaner,” Anderson said. 

Johnson then presented some funding options to the public and city council members present. 

One grant that may be available to the community is the TSEP which funds up to $500,000 and requires equal funds to match it. 

The city would be required to obtain a loan to match the grant and fund the loan out of the storm water utility at a rate of $40,000 per year for 20 years. 

According to the information at the meeting, the storm water utility generates around $50,000 every year.

Johnson noted that the storm water is not high on the TSEP health priority list and it would be beneficial to report the statistics of infections caused by untreated water in public facilities, such as the Splash Pad.

She added that she was anxious to receive feedback from the community. 

“I want to solicit opinions and thoughts,” Johnson said. “What is the vision for Ronan?”

“Well, I think that everyone is ready to do something different and proactive,” Council member Calvin Hardy said. 

The TSEP grant is due on April 16. 

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