Water and sewer to the USFS

Water and Sewer board discusses extending town services to Forest Service office


The Saratoga Water and Sewer Joint Powers Board (sewer board) met Wednesday to deal with routine business, but most of the meeting was spendtdiscussing the possibility of the Saratoga U.S. Forest Service (USFS) office being moved to town water and sewage.

Employees from the USFS appeared at the sewer board meeting to discuss several possible plans with board members so all parties could figure out the best way to solve the USFS office water issues. While no formal action was taken, the discussion allowed both parties to look for a way forward after several fruitless past attempts to get the office on town water.

According to Melanie Fullman, District Ranger for the Brush Creek/Hayden Ranger District, the current well that serves the USFS is not adequate, and drilling another well might be money thrown away, since she has been told there’s a strong possibility another well would have the same problems. The USFS office in Saratoga is also on a septic system that Fullman says is sufficient.

The town, though, would require the USFS to be on city sewer if they were to be on city water. Tim Lamprecht, member of the sewer board, said that, for the town, it was a requirement to have both.

“There is nobody else in town we allow to have town water and no sewer,” Lamprecht said, with other members nodding along in agreement.

Fullman said the USFS would not be opposed to joining the town’s sewer system, despite the fact that the existing septic system is acceptable for current and almost any projected future needs. According to Fullman, the biggest issue faced is to get sufficient, high quality drinking water to the office.

The USFS submitted several possible engineering plans to the board. The board will continue to look at these plans and, along with feasibility studies by the USFS, could make a decision in the future about putting the USFS office on town water and sewer.

Besides several engineering concerns, the board’s other concerns are whether the property would have to be annexed into the town, future access to others adjacent to the USFS property, and possible expansion of the facility in the future with the addition of bunkhouses for seasonal employees.

For the two sides, the negotiations signal a renewed sense of cooperation, as previous efforts to get the USFS office on town water were always stymied by issues between USFS leadership and the board.

Fullman, for her part, stressed that leadership at the office is different from leadership past, and the USFS was eager to find a way forward.

The next meeting of the sewer board will be 6 p.m., Dec. 14, at Saratoga Town Hall.


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