HELENA – Governor Steve Bullock and Montana Department of Commerce Director Meg O’Leary announced the recent award of $500,000 to the City of Colstrip for construction costs associated with upgrades to the city’s wastewater treatment plant. The Montana Coal Board made the award.
“A strong infrastructure is a critical piece of a strong economy. I am glad that we are able to support regional efforts to deal with the everyday impacts related to Montana’s coal industry through entities such as the Montana Coal Board,” said Bullock. “This is another example of Montana’s strong fiscal management assisting local economic development throughout our state.”
The City of Colstrip’s wastewater treatment plant is 37 years old, and has operated without substantial upgrades since 1978. A recent wastewater system Preliminary Engineering Report (PER) revealed several major deficiencies including inadequate pretreatment facilities and the lack of a redundant clarifier. These deficiencies create a health risk for operators, and hinder efforts to establish a successful maintenance and repair program.
The City is working proactively to address the deficiencies detailed in the PER, and will use this Coal Board grant to improve pretreatment facilities, construct a new clarifier, and install new aerators at the lagoon.
“This grant will help the City of Colstrip manage the impacts of coal mining on our infrastructure and local services,” said Mayor Rose Hanser. “Seeing tax money that originated with coal mining, come back to the area that helped provide those taxes is a great model for other areas impacted with natural resource development across our state. We are grateful to the State for recognizing the need to give back to the tax payers and support our efforts to preserve the quality of life for our hard working residents.”
Since 2009, the Coal Board has funded 188 projects for a total of $19.8 million dollars in school, medical, and community facilities, emergency services equipment and buildings, road repairs and public infrastructure improvements, as well as planning grants for capital improvement plans, housing needs assessments, preliminary architectural and engineering reports, and growth policies. The Coal Board awards a portion of coal severance tax revenues collected each year to local governments, school districts, water and sewer districts, federally-recognized Indian tribes, and other eligible entities to address community impacts resulting from coal development.
The Montana Coal Board’s next meeting is in Billings, Montana on September 25, 2015. For more information, contact the Coal Board administrative staff at (406) 841-2770 or e-mail DOCCB@mt.gov.