Laurel Council approves manhole repair

By: 
KATHLEEN GILLULY
Outlook managing editor

At Laurel’s city council meeting Tuesday evening, aldermen and woman voted 5-1 for a contract with CIP Construction Technologies, Inc., for manhole replacement. Richard Herr cast the sole no vote. Doug Poehls and Chuck Dickerson were absent.
At the workshop meeting, Tuesday May 9, Public Works Director Kurt Markegard explained deficiencies noted in the sewer system during annual cleaning last year. He said replacing the eight or nine deficient holes is cost prohibitive at $15,000 to $20,000 each.
The manholes can be rebuilt with a fiberglass liner and epoxy. Then the new bottom and tray can be installed at the point where the sewer comes through. The liner is installed with a crane and conforms to the interior sewer walls. The process has a 50-year lifespan, and prevents leaking from the system and constant deterioration from gases and sewage, according to the construction company.
Councilors also voted for a resolution authorizing the purchase of an air compressor and related equipment for the Laurel Volunteer Fire Department and passed a resolution authorizing Great West Engineering to prepare an update of the 2011 Water and Sewer Rate Study and make necessary recommendations.
At the earlier workshop, Chief Administrative Officer Heidi Jensen told the council that the city’s reserves were depleted because of the amount expended on the intake project and that rates haven’t been adjusted for two years.
The city was required to spend its reserves to make up for part of the state’s portion of the cost of the intake. FEMA covered 75 percent of the cost, but when the state refused to pay the 25 percent match, Laurel also took a loan from the the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation revolving loan fund. At the time the loan offer was made, then Yellowstone County Commissioner Bill Kennedy, Jensen and state officials touted the loan as a way of avoiding passing the cost of the intake onto rate payers.

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