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City discusses storm water project with engineers

RONAN — Directly following the Feb. 22 city council meeting, the city of Ronan held a public hearing, seeking public comments regarding the proposed storm water project.

City council members and a few interested citizens were in attendance as city engineers Shari Johnson and Collette Anderson presented options of a new design of storm water management in Ronan.

Johnson explained that the existing infrastructure does not adequately support storm water. Furthermore, the present system does not meet Department of Environmental Quality Compliance. With minimal treatment and undersized pipes, the majority of the city’s storm water flows untreated into Spring Creek. 

Johnson showed pictures of the excess growth in the creek due to  an increase of nutrients from the pollutants of untreated water.

Anderson explained a number of ways to rectify the present storm water situation.

She discussed new methods of collection, conveyance and flow control and divided the methods by relative cost and design considerations. 

She also spoke of methods of pollution reduction, including a constructed wetland. 

“You could turn it into a public feature,” Anderson explained.

There are many other benefits to a wetland besides being a great source of pollution removal, she said. 

They also mentioned other sources of pollution reduction such as pervious pavement, planters, swales, vegetated filters, sand filters, ponds, sand filter and manufactured treatment technology. The most expensive option for the city is pervious pavement and the least expensive option for the city is an oil/water separator. 

“You got a lot on your plates,” Johnson said. She explained that the city was correct to start investigating storm water issues last spring

“Right now the regulations are there but they are not strong,” Johnson said. “If you look at what is happening on the west coast (stronger regulations) are coming.”

Johnson also mentioned that Lake County was the recipient of a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant for $12 million dollars and a portion of the funds should come to Ronan. 

If the city decides to go ahead with the storm water project, Johnson suggested that the city coordinate the project with Montana Department of Transportation and the reconstruction of U.S. Highway 93.

The next public hearing regarding the proposed storm water project will be held on March 24 at 6 p.m. at Ronan City Hall. 

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