The Saratoga Sun -

Water and Fire

 

March 24, 2022



The Carbon County Council of Governments discussed a variety of topics during their March 18 meeting in Hanna. Chief among those was the recent catastrophic water break in Rawlins.

The member municipalities also discussed the proposed fire district and provided updates on their respective communities.

Rawlins Water Event

Lenny Layman, the Emergency Management Coordinator for Carbon County gave a presentation on how the Carbon County Coordination Center (C4) performed recently during a major crisis for the town of Rawlins.

“Everybody is aware the city of Rawlins had a catastrophic water event the first week of March,” Layman said. “It happened on a Thursday morning March 3 and the situation pretty much drained the city’s tanks.”

Layman said the city of Rawlins activated the C4.

“This was the first time that the C4 had its activation as an emergency operation center,” Layman said. “At one there was probably 48 or 49 people in there and it worked out really well.”

Layman said there were two semi-loads of water brought in very quickly.

“We still have 37  pallets of water remaining,” Layman said. “At one time we had 99.000 bottles of water. Because we were in the same room, we worked closely with the EPA.”

Rawlins mayor Terry Weikum told the CCCOG members the EPA representative told him the C4 did an amazing job and the EPA had a difficult time keeping up with all the C4 was on top of.

“This type of failure usually takes three or four times longer to fix,” Weikum said. “I wasn’t really all that sold on the C4 thing, but thank God nobody listened to me because it went very well. There was nothing that was done over and over. It was all handled properly and there was someone from almost every county and city agency.”

Weikum explained how the water break happened.

“Just so you know, what happened was we are repairing a water line that is going south and replacing the 100 year old pipeline,” Weikum said. “During that time we had full tanks and we thought everything was ready to go and then we experienced two huge leaks, one by McDonalds and the other by the penitentiary. At the same time one of the brand new pumps that sent water from the treatment plant to town quit, and once the pressure went down below 20 PSI, half the town, the upper part, did not have water. In order to fix all that water had to be turned off.”

Weikum was very impressed with all the volunteers who gave up their time to help and how smoothly the C4 ran as it helped the people of the town.

“We owe a huge thanks to so many from Carbon County,” Weikum said. “And it was an opportunity to see the C4 tested. Even though this was a huge disaster, it really gave us a chance to see how the C4 worked. I have to say Lenny did an amazing job.”

The town or Sinclair was also affected because they get their water from Rawlins.

“We followed the procedures everyone else did. We brought in bottled water and did what it took to get back online,” Sinclair mayor Leif Johansson said. “C4 worked like it was supposed to work. I can’t praise them enough.”

Layman said C4 is not only an asset for Rawlins but the entire county.

“It can be used for Baggs, Medicine Bow or Elk Mountain,” Layman said. “The C4 is an asset for all. If there is a flood in Saratoga, the C4 can help with the situation although we are in Rawlins. Our call center proved it works during a disaster.”

The water was out in Rawlins for several days but those municipalities affected felt C4 made a terrible event much easier to handle.”

Moore and Carbon Commissioner John Johnson praised Layman for how well the C4 worked.

Fire District

“John Rutherford was going to be here tonight to answer any questions, but he got called to Ryan Park to teach a training session,” Moore said. “I will do my best.”

Moore said he had reached out to some local marketing firms about how to approach voters on creating a Carbon County Fire District.

“I believe we have 1,115 registered voters in Carbon County,” Moore said, talking about residents who didn’t live in municipalities. “From this data we believe there are 1,010 households.”

Moore said this information gave an indication on how their marketing campaign should be directed. There are no municipalities in Carbon County joining the fire district at this juncture of time.

Moore said printed material for the fire district campaign could be ready in the summer. He said he was planning to do two meetings. 

“One meeting I would like to team with the fire warden and go to every single county fire department and distribute educational information,” Moore said. “After that we would probably go into a public forum format.”

Elk Mountain mayor Morgan Irene said the representatives for the fire district proposal should be selected carefully.t 

“People last time around who went out and talked, because of who  they were and small town politics, personalities clashed and it wasn’t about the merits of the district,” Morgan said. “Right or wrong, some voters got turned off just because of who was presenting the proposal. My concern is that if we don’t approach this campaign like we did the 5th and 6th Penny tax where we have a neutral party keep the focus on the issue because it is an important thing for our county.”

CCCOG approved splitting the cost of the fire district marketing piece with Carbon County after the different municipalities had the opportunity to put the idea before their councils.

Carbon County Roundup

The Carbon County roundup started with Sinclair..

Sinclair has hired a community events director. Riverside said there has been interest in developing an area for shouses. A shouse is a cross between a shed and a house. He said land for sale is hard to find.

Medicine Bow said their town will start paving streets in the summer. Currently almost all streets are not paved in the town. Encampment is in the process of hiring another public works employee.

Dixon said the town is on a holding pattern until the weather improves. Baggs said a police officer they had hired turned down the job because he was offered more money where he was. Elk Mountain’s town council approved paying for a feasibility study to see if it was possible to bring in a natural project. He said that a green hydrogen plant was being proposed near the town.

Hanna has filled the position for deputy marshall. Rawlins has hired an economic director and a new full time grant writer. He said several businesses are coming to the town.

Saratoga said the hospital is looking good. A study is being done on a possible aquatic facility. The sandbagger at C4 will be at Saratoga. Carbon County reported the Carbon Building renovation was going extremely well. The courthouse’s interior is being renovated also.

The ‘did you know’ segment about the host town had Hanna say the Hanna Basin Museum will celebrate its 40th year of being founded.

The next scheduled meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on May 18, in Saratoga.

 

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