Money in Place for Storm Water Study

By Beacon Staff

Pens are poised to sign with an engineering firm, and the money to pay them is – “in the bank,”— so to speak.

Flathead County Commissioners will sign a contract with Morrison-Maierle this week to study Bigfork’s storm water drainage system. They have to start from the beginning; following water flow to see how and if the current system is functioning. There are no records documenting the system’s installation.

“The purpose of the report is to determine the condition/effectiveness of the system,” says Susan Hanson. Hanson helped collect information to get grants to pay for the study. Funding for the study is coming from the Flathead Basin Commission, the Department of Environmental Quality, and the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.

They know of three places storm water empties; into a bush on private property, into the Swan River by Electric Avenue, and at the public dock in Bigfork Bay. The engineering report will go back to the Bigfork Steering Committee with ideas of what upgrades and repairs the system needs.

Once the BSC has the engineering report they can apply for a grant from the DEQ. That needs to be in by March, so they’re hopeful the report will be completed in time. County Commissioner Joe Brenneman, the Flathead Conservation District, the Flathead GIS Department (mapping), the County grant writer, and the BSC started working on the storm water drainage last spring, after runoff flooded two Bigfork homes.

To deal with future water drainage issues in the community, Larry Von Rinsum of the Flathead Conservation District suggested the formation of a Water Shed Subcommittee. Funding and technical assistance would come from the county but the committee would have the authority to make decisions and allocate funds. The BSC is putting out a call to the community to volunteer for the committee. Call Susan Hanson at 837- 5323 or Craig Wagner, BSC Chairman, at 837-1037.