The Saratoga Sun -

An unhappy tale

Problematic sewer line addressed at meeting


Wednesday’s meeting of the Saratoga Water and Sewer Joint Powers Board (sewer board) saw board members stepping out from behind the council table to address their fellow board members as concerned citizens.

Russell Waldner was one of the board members who took to the floor as a concerned citizen. At the sewer board’s meeting in April, the board discussed the issue of a backed up sewer line that runs under Hwy 130 that was causing issues at Saratoga Feed Store and Waldner’s business, Happy Tails Dog Boarding.

At the April meeting, the council stated that there were no records of the line being installed by, or the responsibility of, the town. At the next meeting in May, Waldner asserted that he found state records which show the line was installed by the town. He reiterated the claim at Wedensday’s meeting, and said that he needed to get resolution on the issue.

Waldner passed out drawings obtained at the state to the board members showing the line, which he said. “I am worried the more I dig into this, the more I’m going to create something the town doesn’t want,” he said, saying even though he believes the line belongs to the town, that the state has no records of easements for lines on the west side of the highway.

Board member Tim Lamprecht said that in his conversations, he has not found anyone who knows that the line is or is not owned by the town.

“Based on the information I gathered, I don’t think there is enough credibility in the town’s records to say that it’s not the town’s line,” Waldner said. “If push comes to shove, (I would) rather go to an attorney and ask him to make you prove it’s not the city’s line, and I don’t think you have enough information to do that.”

Waldner said he would like to see a permanent solution to the problem, saying that a cleaning of the lines might work for a while, but that the issue may arise again in years to come. He also expressed interest in some cost sharing with the town after the board suggested the installation of manholes on both ends of the line to facilitate use of the town’s jet router to clean the line, with Waldner having to install an access point to the line.

However, the board stopped short of admitting ownership of the line, suggesting that any cleaning of the line done by town employees with the town’s equipment should be covered by a waiver that would indemnify the town of responsibility in case the line were damaged.

But Waldner was concerned that even after he installed an access point to the line, the town would still drag its feet on cleaning the line.

Chairman Don Price said that once an access point was installed, the town would clean the line and attempt to clear the blockage, as long as the liability waiver was in place.

Price did not know what would happen if the town had such a waiver, the line were damaged and it was later proven that the line belonged to the town.

The board voted to have an attorney draft the waiver and clean the line once Waldner installed an access point. Board member Glee Johnson voted against that measure, but it passed with support from every other commissioner except Waldner, who not able to vote since he was addressing the council as a citizen, not a member the board.

After they voted on that issue, the board turned to discussion of other business. According to Saratoga Director of Public Works Jon Winter, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) was expected to issue a permit soon for the town’s outfall sewer project monitoring scheme. Under the scheme, the town will install data collection points to monitor ammonia levels in several places to ensure that ammonia discharge levels are acceptable.

The board also made amendments to the proposed budget for fiscal year 2016-2017, making minor adjustments to the amount of money set aside for advertising costs to cover legal notices.

The sewer board met June 13 for a budget hearing and regular meeting.


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