Lagoon project under budget so far
December 31, 2020
With the lagoon project reaching 15 to 20% completion going into the new year, costs are looking good. According to HDR Engineering’s Heath Turbiville, “[The cost] is quite a bit less than what we asked for funding.”
He and associate Jeron Smith reported to Moorcroft’s town council Monday night the most recent numbers.
The 2161 dry tons of sludge dredged from cells one and two was significantly less than anticipated, thus mitigating the total cost of removal as well. The original funding provided by the state paid $965,000 and the additional $439,000 came from the secondary Rural Development loan funds.
“There is still $800,000 of the additional funds left over,” Smith advised the governing body.
The remaining cell three has not been cleaned and Smith estimates that cost would be a little under $240,000, but it was not part of the original work list. To go ahead with it, the money must be requested from the remaining $800,000; Community Programs Director Lorraine Werner of the USDA had previously informed Mayor Dick Claar that any remaining portion of this secondary funding is to be returned to the state.
“We need to ask her,” Claar advised Turbiville, “if we could have $250,000 to do cell three in the spring.”
Turbiville explained that his office has been attempting to contact Werner: “We sent multiple e-mails and phone calls last week, but we haven’t been able to get an answer back yet.”
He attributes the slow response to the holidays. “At this time we have not heard back so we don’t want to finalize anything,” he said.
Storage of the sludge through the winter months is the issue over which Councilman Ben Glenn expressed concern, saying, “I don’t want to be charged for a bunch of storage.” The rancher is not currently charging the town for the fertilizer, but has asked that no more material be stored onsite during the winter.
Smith assured him that no more waste will be deposited onto the property owner’s land until the spring, when the solids and liquids will be cultivated into the soil.
RCS is currently excavating for the contact chamber and hope to lay foundation for reclamaition building while warmer weather holds.
Councilman Dale Petersen wanted to know how often HDR has someone onsite to ensure Moorcroft’s interests and Smith stated that he attended the project in person once or twice each week for a few hours.