Line ownership determined

Sewer board gets determination on Happy Tails/Saratoga Feed line, grant monies planned, Sherrod resigns


The Saratoga Water and Sewer Joint Powers Board (sewer board) met Dec. 14 to begin discussing the use of a state grant to improve the lagoon system at the sewage treatment plant, put to rest the controversy surrounding the Happy Tails kennel sewer line on the North side of town, and bid farewell to a member of the board.

The Sewer Board hired an engineering firm, Sunrise Engineering, to do a scope of work on improvements at the treatment facility. The Board also heard from the DEQ who lifted an injunction against the town stemming from the previously-contested ownership of a sewer line that runs under WY-130 and serves Happy Tails dog kennel and Saratoga Feed Store. Don Sherrod also announced at the meeting that he would be resigning his position on the sewer board.

“I just got my new hearing aid and everything, and I went to the meeting and couldn’t hear a single thing,” Sherrod said in a telephone interview after the meeting. “It’s hard to contribute when you can’t even hear what’s going on.

“My time in public service is over,” Sherrod said.

Tim Lamprecht, of the sewer board, said in an interview after the meeting that he would miss Sherrod’s experience on the board. “I hate to see him leave, but I certainly understand,” Lamprecht said. “He had some difficulty hearing and things of that nature, so that’s why. He’s been on it before so we hate to lose that experience.”

The sewer board spent time discussing selecting an engineering firm to perform a scope of work for the lagoon and treatment plant. The board, Lamprecht said, had money to spend that has already been funded, and said the sewer board was looking for improvements to do to the lagoon and the treatment facility to make it more efficient and to future-proof the facility.

The scope of the project would likely not affect lines in town, Lamprecht said, adding that the board had a proprietary list of sewer and water lines in town that needed repairs or improvement. The town is also continuing to look at lines in town

The funding for this study comes from grant money given the board by the state for the outfall project last year. The outfall project was going to be required to address ammonia levels in some area creeks, but eventually the town found data to show that the ammonia levels were within range, and had been for several years. Being freed of the need to complete the outfall project, the board can now use the finds slated for that to complete other needed improvements to parts of the water and sewer system, Lamprecht said.

The funding is use-it-or-lose-it.

The sewer board was also able to put to rest a long-brewing controversy regarding a line that runs under WY-130 and serves Happy Tails dog kennel and Saratoga Feed Store on the town’s north side. Last winter, the owners of Happy Tails and Saratoga Feed Store reported that a line that runs under the highway was clogged, causing sewage to collect on the ground near the two businesses.

The issue soon blew up into a controversy when the sewer board said it did not own the line that runs under the highway. One business owner attended several meetings of the sewer board over the spring and summer to plead that the line must belong to the town since it runs under the highway, and getting a permit to install a line under a state highway is a serious undertaking that would leave a paper trail.

Eventually, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) was brought into the fray. DEQ found that the line was in violation of state law and began fining the business owners as well as the town.

The Sewer Board, however, found documentation that it says proves the line is—and always was—private.

“We went back and found the previous owner approached the town council back in the 70s and asked to tie his private line into our sewer system out there,” Lamprecht said.

The DEQ, after reviewing that evidence, lifted the injunction against the town.

“That is their (the business owners’) line,” Lamprecht said, adding that back in the 70s and 80s, there were a lot of “good old boy” deals made between residents and members of the town government, and the Happy Tails sewer line issue is a prime example of why boards such as the sewer board must follow the rules when considering business.

“Things run a whole lot more smoothly when everyone follows the same rules,” Lamprecht said.

The next regular meeting of the Saratoga sewer board will be 6 p.m., Jan. 11, 2017, at the Saratoga Town Hall building.


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